Mark Richardson plays dirty | The Jackal

18 Aug 2017

Mark Richardson plays dirty

The dirty politics debacle should have signalled to the right that underhanded tactics don’t usually pay off. There are some exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking New Zealander’s don’t like nastiness getting in the way of a good debate about policy and a politicians ability to promote their ideas free from personal attacks.

However it appears that The AM Show, with their ratings starting to tank, didn’t get the memo. Unfortunately Newshub has been blatantly biased in favour of the National and Act parties of late, and that favouratism has now coalesced with a personal and vile attack by show host Mark Richardson on NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Yesterday, Newsroom reported:

Winston takes on Mediaworks over Richardson remarks

NZ First leader Winston Peters has lodged defamation proceedings against Mediaworks after former Black Cap Mark Richardson likened him to pus on a morning TV show.

The broadcaster has come out swinging in response, accusing Peters of trying to shut down legitimate opinion in election year.

Richardson’s comments on Newshub's The AM Show came as he questioned Peters’ decision to attend a public meeting in Woodville to discuss the closure of the Manawatu Gorge.

Peters told Newsroom he had filed defamation proceedings against Richardson over the remarks.

Well that's just not cricket. Let me declare right now that Winston Peters will win. The law is pretty clear when it comes to defamation of this type and Mediaworks should really move quickly to settle. I just hope the judge doesn't close the doors so we can hear Richardson grovelling over money.

Peters' lawyer won’t even be required to prove that the defamatory statements made by Richardson are untrue, because any competent judge will be able to rule on that without further evidence.

“I’m not going to have people defaming me in this campaign: I was on The AM Show, the guy likened me to white pus and cancer cells and what have you, and I thought, ‘Sorry, I’m not taking that, I’m suing you’ - it’s all filed.

“When they’ve got past about $60,000 of legal expenses they might come to their senses.”

In a statement, Newshub chief news officer Hal Crawford confirmed the company had been served with defamation proceedings by Peters, but pushed back against any suggestion of wrongdoing.

"We believe this is an attempt to shut down legitimate satire and opinion in an election year. We reject the idea that the colourful language which was used here could have damaged Mr Peters' reputation."

Legitimate satire? Good god they sound desperate! This is about as legitimate satire as the insane Pauline Hanson wearing a burka into Australia's parliament.

I doubt Peters’ lawyer will bother to show that there’s been damage done to the NZ First leaders reputation either, and under a claim for this kind of defamation he doesn’t need to. Newshub is up shits creek without a paddle here. They will be ruled against in a court of law just as they've been lambasted in the court of public opinion.

The problem is that the right wing's media people are being intentionally belittling in order to take the focus off of Bill English's complete failure as Prime Minister. By keeping the opposition busy with personal attacks (and this isn't the only one over the last few days), they think the public won't notice how bereft of policy ideas the National party actually is.

Let's hope enough New Zealander's see their desperation for what it is, and vote accordingly.