Colin Craig drops defamation threat

SOPHIE SPEER
Last updated 13:43 24/04/2013

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Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has decided not to take any defamation action against political satire website, The Civilian.

But he was now putting together a Broadcasting Standards Authority complaint against a television network.

On Monday, satire website The Civilian published a story about the weekend's floods in Nelson, Waikato and Bay of Plenty being caused by the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill.

The story made reference to Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson, and his now famous speech in Parliament, in which he described seeing a ''big gay rainbow'' and took it as a sign in favour of the new legislation.

The Civilian story quoted Craig: '''Williamson likes to talk about big gay rainbows,' said Craig, 'but it would help if he understood what the rainbow actually means. After Noah's flood, God painted a giant rainbow across the sky, which was a message that he would never again flood the world, unless we made him very angry. And we have.'''

On Tuesday, Craig's lawyer, John McKay of Chapman Tripp, sent The Civilian editor Ben Uffindell a letter saying the remarks were defamatory and inaccurate.

As a result, The Civilian published a note above the story which read ''We accept, upon further review, that Craig never made the statement attributed to him. We retract the statement and apologise to Craig for any harm we have caused to his impeccable reputation.''
Craig said he was happy with the editor's retraction and apology, and would take the matter no further.

He even laughed at the smiley face that was added to the end of the retraction and apology by Uffindell.

''I found that entertaining, it's in line with the site. It was a very appropriate way to sign it off.''

But the moves to protect his reputation were not finished.

Craig said after legal advice, he would be filing a complaint against a television network by the end of the week.

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- The Dominion Post

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