Insults fly at Colin Craig, Cameron Slater defamation hearing

Cameron Slater (pictured centre) and Colin Craig are suing each other for defamation.
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Cameron Slater (pictured centre) and Colin Craig are suing each other for defamation.

Blogger Cameron Slater has told a court that Colin Craig should never have gotten into politics because he's too thin-skinned.

Slater flung insults at Craig during a heated cross-examination at the High Court in Auckland.

"Most people in New Zealand do not have vast resources to willy nilly sue everyone that has crossed them in some way," he said.

Colin Craig arriving at the Auckland High Court earlier in May 2017.
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Colin Craig arriving at the Auckland High Court earlier in May 2017.

The former leader of the Conservative Party and the Whaleoil blogger are suing each other for defamation.

READ MORE:
Cameron Slater defends Colin Craig blog posts
Helen Craig: 'I wanted to deck my husband'
Love poems and hot saunas: Week one of the Colin Craig trial

On Wednesday, Slater, under cross-examination by Craig who is representing himself, said Craig was litigious and overly jealous of his reputation.

"Politicians or people with thin skins shouldn't really get into the game of politics, because abuse gets hurled around all the time."

Slater said the Dirty Politics booklet Craig distributed to 1.6 million households was out of proportion with articles he published on his Whaleoil blog.

"I wrote a few posts that at best, 6000 people read. It was a massive overreaction on your part and made worse by the fact you lied about me."

He accused Craig of having a "quaint view" of the New Zealand media.

"Your way is a quaint old-fashioned view of pencil-pushing reporters who are very shy and call everyone 'mister'," Slater said. 

"Times have moved on from the 1800s and it's time you moved on as well."

Craig claims articles published on Whaleoil alleging he sexually harassed his former press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, were unfounded and effectively destroyed his reputation. But Slater says he was simply a journalist doing his job. 

Slater told the court he had been involved in politics from a young age. When he started his blog, in 2005, he set a goal to become the most successful blogger in the country.

"It's in my DNA, politics. It's the best game in town. There are no rules."

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He said he was open about his "fiscal conservative and social liberal" views, while mainstream journalists pretended not to have political bias.

He didn't necessarily need to adhere to journalistic standards, or differentiate between fact and opinion, he said.

"You're trying to hold me to a standard that other people are holding themselves to, but I don't subscribe to those standards.

"I do operate to standards but they're just not written down."

Asked whether he had an obligation to test the accuracy of facts, Slater responded: "How can you test the accuracy of a known liar?"

Craig also asked Slater whether he'd used the words "ratbag and scumbag" to describe him.

"Well, you are both," Slater replied.

The judge-alone hearing continues and is set down for three weeks. 

 - Stuff

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