NZ Governments Free Legal Offer is a Divide and Conquer Tactic
When the Southern Response claimants first received an offer of “two hours of free legal advice”, we are sure there were many things that went through their minds, like: that’s weird; why?
First up, the list of questions provided by Southern Response are very good questions, they are very good questions to ask any legal representative when taking individual or group/class legal action.
Whether choosing to litigate as part of a group or as an individual, do ensure you work though these types of questions with the legal team(s) offering the services, and definitely take independent advice.
So no issue with the questions posed by Southern Response but the offer made on Monday is 100% strategic and very cunning, you should be very concerned with why the Crown is making this offer to you in this way.
The “any New Zealand lawyer” offer comes with an as yet unknown caveat, this can be identified by the * in the offer. The full extent of the * will remain unknown until an individual engages with the “independent lawyer” paid by Southern Response.
Only a lawyer bound by the rules of the New Zealand Law Society can provide 100% assurance that any discussion is confidential between the Southern Response claimant and the lawyer engaged by Southern Response.
Any person electing to take up this offer should be very aware that anything shared with a lawyer paid for by Southern Response may well be passed straight back to Southern Response.
The New Zealand legal system uses the adversarial model, in other words it is a legal model based on a battle fought between two sides. Southern Response is one opponent, with each individual litigating claimant being the other opponent.
The scales in this battle are currently very unbalanced. Claimants are individuals with limited funds and resources, Southern Response is a CROWN OWNED COMPANY with unlimited funding and resources; a very one-sided battle.
Southern Response do “care” about claimants joining a group action, but not for the reasons stated in the Southern Response’s “2 hour offer”.
Southern Response cares because it will even up the litigation battlefield.
If Southern Response cared they would have made the offer to EVERY claimant litigating and not limit it to those in the “unnamed group action”.
It is strategic and cunning – they do not want the public to compare tactics used on them by Southern Response, as they would soon realise what has happened to them over the last 4 years has been a co-ordinated strategy for all.
It is a rule of battle known as divide and conquer.
The email offer states “Please speak with your Claims Specialist to confirm your choice in advance, before speaking to a lawyer”.
Southern Response want to know who each and every person is that is in the as yet unnamed group action.
With that data in hand they will attack each person individually and pick them off one by one, not with money or reinstatement, but with more unfulfilled promises and delays.
They have attempted to collect this data before, using community groups.
Information is power and two hours, at say $400 per hour, is cheap to get critical data that is otherwise inaccessible.
Peter Rose is the perfect CEO for Southern Response, he can be blamed and claimants can point the finger at him for the foolish offer, but there is nothing foolish about this at all.
Behind Peter Rose there is a Board of Directors appointed by the New Zealand government. This offer will have been endorsed and encouraged by those behind Peter Rose, including the Shareholding Ministers.
According to one of those Shareholding Ministers, Mr Brownlee, the lawyers behind the unnamed group action are opportunistic. Opportunistic is defined as “exploiting immediate opportunities”.
There is nothing immediate about this situation, for those joining the group action, they have had five years of discussion, negotiation and mediation, it is time for litigation and time for New Zealand to have some decent law to manage insurers and the New Zealand government post natural disaster.
If you need help financially with legal advice contact the Community Law Service, it is free, if you are concerned that any lawyer is breaking the rules of the New Zealand Law Society, then contact the Society and make a complaint. But, DO NOT accept two hours of legal advice paid for by the New Zealand government when they are the ones being litigated against, it is nonsensical for any claimant to even consider this offer from the Crown, it is simply a cynical attempt to gather your personal details and complaints to later be used against you.
Everything is in this blog post is opinion and it is recommend that any persons considering taking legal action of any type gain professional advice, which this is not.