Colin Craig acts against Russel Norman's comments

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 12:40 01/04/2014
TAKING ACTION: Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.
DAVID WHITE/Fairfax NZ
TAKING ACTION: Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.

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Comments Green Party co-leader Russel Norman made about his Conservative Party counterpart will expose Colin Craig to "public hatred, ridicule and contempt", a defamation claim states.

Craig pressed ahead with defamation action against Norman last night, filing a statement of claim in the Wellington District Court.

Craig is demanding a retraction and apology from Norman over comments he made at Auckland's Big Gay Out in February.

Norman said at the event that Craig thought a woman's place was in the kitchen and a gay man's was in the closet. Norman has already refused to resile from his comments, calling Craig's views "offensive".

Craig yesterday confirmed the statement of claim had been lodged but would not comment further. His office has released the court document to Fairfax Media, which outlines his case.

Lawyers for Craig say Norman's comments, which were later published by some media organisations, would bring Craig into disrepute and discredit him generally.

The statement of claim said Norman published the words "without adequately testing or verifying [the] truth or falsity of the words, and with a reckless disregard for their truth or falsity."

Yesterday, Green Party spokesman Andrew Campbell said the party would defend the case "because we believe in freedom of political speech and an inclusive and tolerant society".

"This case is a diversion from the issues that really matter to New Zealanders," he said.

"This year's election should be about debating the real issues, such as people struggling to pay their power bills and facing mortgage hikes and increased costs - the Green Party will continue to work to make New Zealand a smart, greener, more compassionate place to live.

"Colin Craig may want to spend his time arguing in court, but the Green Party will continue to focus its energy on the issues that are important to everyday New Zealanders."

Both parties have set up donation funds to fight their cases.

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