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Defamation case avoidable

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman

9 December 2007

Defamation case avoidable

National Party State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee says Trevor Mallard should take some responsibility for his part in the attempt to smear the reputation of Environment Ministry whistleblower Erin Leigh.

“Without Trevor Mallard’s public comments, based on his ‘interpretation’ of officials’ reports, the Environment Ministry would not now be in the gun for defamation.”

On Friday it was revealed that Lawyer Tim Allan, who specialises in defamation, has been hired by Ms Leigh to take on the Environment Ministry.

“It appears Trevor Mallard’s attack has exposed the taxpayer to substantial risk. His public attack will be important in any court case.”

Mr Brownlee says the public deserve answers from the Minister.

“Why was such a report prepared? Did Mr Mallard, or his office, specifically ask for a dirt report on Erin Leigh to use in Parliament?

“If Mr Mallard’s recent tactics are anything to go by, it would be a very courageous public servant who tried to turn him down.

“Shamefully, these tactics have been supported by the Prime Minister who called them ‘mild’ by Trevor Mallard’s standards.

“This is now Labour’s standard approach to anyone who criticises the Government.”

Mr Brownlee notes that State Services Commissioner Mark Prebble appears to have been offering information related to his ongoing inquiry to Government members who have used them in Parliament.

“Labour members have referred to the Commissioner’s advice in relation to the apology by MfE boss Hugh Logan.

“It would be helpful if he and Annette King, as Minister in charge of the inquiry, finally spelt out when his report will be made public.”


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