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Publishers Who Use and Abuse Insurance

With AIG Insurance Being Notified About Possible Fraud, We Explore The Business Practice Of Potton & Burton
Has Robbie Burton and his big mouth let the cat out of the bag so to speak on the murky world of ‘hit job’ books he publishes? 
 
Let’s look at Burton’s own words in a story he wrote for newsroom.co.nz which was published on September 19th, 2022. 
 
The article, titled, “The terror of publishing Nicky Hager” is an interesting read as it goes a long way to explain how publisher, Potton & Burton operates, and its certainly not ethical. 
 
“Every book could destroy the company” writes Nicky Hager’s publisher (quote from Robbie Burton of publishing house, Potton and Burton) That statement by Robbie Burton must make any insurer nervous. (We have provided a copy of that story to AIG as part of what needs to be considered with regard to the insurance policy issues that have been complained about) 
 
So the question lingers… when a publisher needs to rely on its insurance policy to settle claims, then how good was the so called ‘investigative journalism or meticulous research’ that goes into these books that Potton & Burton decide to publish. 
 
Let’s not forget Nick Hager’s quote from the front cover quote of the Whale Oil book “ A masterpiece of meticulous research and compelling story telling”.
 
We wrote to Hager on several occasions asking exactly what meticulous research he was referring to, and so far we have not had a reply. That is telling in our view. 
 
Now, back to Robbie Burton and his own PR vitriol about how he runs his company – this is crucial as to why insurers should be concerned about insuring these types of publishing businesses.
 
Quote from Robbie Burton:
“a number of times over the next 20 years to get Nicky’s risky books successfully into readers’ hands and to minimise the danger of being stifled by a High Court injunction, the most likely tool the subject of a book would use to prevent publication. This involved producing the books at breakneck speed to reduce the chance of being discovered. After the book had been written, Nicky would work intensively alongside an editor over a week or two; I would lay out and proofread the book in two or three days, and then print in absolute secrecy. When printed, we would drop them via overnight courier into bookshops nationwide without any prior warning, explaining to booksellers why we were doing this and offering to take back at our expense any they didn’t want. It meant that the book was already available to readers just as Nicky started to create a media firestorm thereby significantly reducing the window for legal action to be successfully launched: by the time an injunction could be drawn up and submitted to the Court, widespread availability meant it would be pointless and therefore unlikely to be granted”.
So there we have it, the strategy that Potton & Burton employ to get its books out. In the case of the Whale Oil book it was at the insurers expense. Our view is that was the plan all along. 
 
What we know is that author, Margie Thomson never contacted Marc Spring , or anyone associated with him to fact check the book – what a financial and reputational mistake that turned out to be. 
 
What we know is that Nick Hager considers the book to be meticulous research when clearly there was no research at all, and he has failed to answer questions about his statement on the front cover. 
 
What we know is there are multiple pre-trial settlement payments that have been made to those who have been defamed. Spring being the biggest. Nobody settles if insurance is paying the legal bills and you have any evidence. Quite clearly neither Margie Thomson, nor Potton & Burton wanted the embarrassment of a public trial where all their failures would be put on display. 
 
What we know is that Spring wrote to Robbie Burton when he was alerted to the fact that a book was imminent, and in those emails Spring provided evidence that proved conclusively the Whale Oil book was factually incorrect, and defamatory. 
 
What we know is that Potton & Burton decided to distribute the Whale Oil book despite knowing conclusively that what they had had authored by Margie Thomson was false.
 
What we know is the legal bill at the insurers expense have been astronomical.
 
What we know is that payouts made by AIG insurance have been astronomical. 
 
So that just leaves AIG Insurance to make its investigation into the insurance claims made for the Whale Oil book are investigated fully, and if need be, prosecuted. 
 
Perhaps author Margie Thomson, and the publisher Potton & Burton should be made to refund in full any monies that have been paid out via the insurance policy. 
 
And in all of this is supposed media law expert, Steven Price from Victoria University in Wellington. A further story on Price, Victoria University, and the lack of response from the Chancellor will be up next. 
 
“Every book could destroy the company” … lets hope its the nonsense of the Whale Oil book that does. 
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