Conservatives' leader Colin Craig has split a defamation
claim against the Greens co-leader, focusing it on Russel
Norman's comments about his views on women.
Mr Craig had given Dr Norman a deadline to apologise over
comments he made in a speech at the Big Gay Out, but Dr
Norman refused to do so.
Dr Norman had described Mr Craig as someone who "thinks a
woman's place is in the kitchen and a gay man's place is in
Mr Craig now says he'll continue pursuing a claim against Dr
Norman for his 'woman's place' comment, but his 'gay man's
place' claim is on the back-burner for now.
"After extensive discussion and advice from my legal team,
I've decided to proceed immediately against [Dr] Norman
regarding his claims about the place of women."
He said he would not immediately pursue Dr Norman's comments
about gays because his lawyers had already indicated
discovery would include emails and other correspondence.
"Given the extensive debate around the redefinition of
marriage, this is many hundreds, if not thousands of
documents, and would result in prohibitive costs and time
"It is hoped by breaking the case into two stages, that a
declaration of defamation may be obtained prior to the
election this year."
Asked if he would apologise, Dr Norman told Radio New Zealand
this morning he had been pretty clear about standing up
"If Mr Craig intends to continue with it [the defamation
case] then so be it. But from my point of view, what's
important is to stand up for a tolerant, inclusive New
"The only way we'll get a tolerant, inclusive New Zealand is
if we stand up against intolerance."
Prime Minister John Key indicated he believed Mr Craig needed
to harden up.
"If Mr Craig is going to be part of the Parliamentary process
to be honest he's going to have to get used to a lot more
rough and tumble than he's currently demonstrating.
"We all learn to develop a thicker skin as we spend our time
here. The reality is this is the nature of Parliament."
Mr Key repeated his advice last week to his potential minor
party allies including Mr Craig and Act Leader Jamie Whyte:
"In the end, I think New Zealanders are interested in the
issues that matter. People get up in the morning concerned
about their jobs, their children, their health, their
families, the communities they live in not whether Elvis is
still alive, man walked on the moon or whether Russel Norman
might have a view about what Colin Craig things about certain