Scampi case settled for just $1.5 million

The Scampi defamation and suppressed video case was quietly settled at the beginning of the week.

Retired fishing industry magnate Peter Simunovich says he feels “vindicated’ after settling his long legal battle against TVNZ and APN New Zealand — the publisher of The New Zealand Herald — over an alleged defamation of him in coverage of a row over scampi fisheries.

The Simunovich Family injuncted the TVNZ video that accused them of arranging for evidence to be fabricated and lies told to the then infamous Scampi Inquiry. This was the same inquiry that Winston Peters famously changed his tune halfway through going from being scathing about how Scampi quota was originally allocated to suddenly deciding that it was all hunky-dory.

Famously Rodney Hide also tried to present this video evidence in the House and was constantly prevented asking questions and denied leave to table the video and documents by Winston Peters.

The Whale’s spies have now confirmed that the case is indeed finished, very quietly and that TVNZ and APN settled with Simunovich for just $1.5 million. That is less than half of the legal costs incurred by the Simunovich family on trying to keep the video from the public. How can Simunovich claim to be vindicated when the case was settled out of court and slapped with all sorts of confidentiality agreements? That hardly seems like a vindication to me. More like a quick scramble out of trouble if you ask me.

One would have to ask precisely why they would spend more than $3 millions trying to keep a programme from airing and then settle for under half the expense in doing so? Says a lot really, particularly when they were seeking $29m in damages from the media companies.

Well The Whale was the only blogger prepared to air the video at the time and I will do it again so that we can be reminded of a shameful episode in New Zealand political history that involved the most corrupt politician in living memory, Winston Raymond Peters, 64, unemployed of no fixed abode.