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Craig was disgusting towards me: MacGregor

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/09/2016

Colin Craig's ex press secretary has described the former Conservative Party leader as "dodgy", telling a court he sexually harassed her over a long period of time and made her work months without pay.

Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams is suing Mr Craig for defamation over comments Mr Craig made in a leaflet sent to 1.6 million homes and at a press conference in July last year.

Mr Williams says Mr Craig claimed he had spread lies and fabricated documents explaining the reasons behind press secretary Rachel MacGregor's sudden resignation before the 2014 national election.

On Tuesday, Ms MacGregor told the High Court at Auckland she was "uncomfortable and upset" when Mr Craig told her he had "slept well the night before because he had imagined he was lying on my legs" while they were in a car together days before the election.

"It was not the first time," she said, adding he had previously claimed it was a sleeping "technique".

"I had told him two days earlier to stop saying this to me."

The sexual harassment had "occurred over a long period of time" and he had previously "inappropriately touched" and kissed her after making her spend the night at the party's headquarters in 2011, she said.

"He was dodgy ... He was disgusting towards me," she said, repeating the word "dodgy" several times.

"He was lying to all sorts of people and trying to manipulate the truth."

In September 2014 she tried to talk to him about the fact she had not been paid since June - due to a dispute over what she would be paid for over the election period - but said he refused to even discuss the matter .

She resigned shortly afterwards.

She said she had later told Mr Williams about a series of alleged improprieties: including that Mr Craig had asked her to move into the apartment above his office, installed a curtain in her office for privacy, sent her romantic letters and poems, touched her and would make her stay behind late after functions.

Ms MacGregor said Mr Craig would get her to give him back rubs because of pain and trouble sleeping.

"He had almost become a child and a baby. He wanted me to look after him... all these things that were blurring the boundaries," she said.

She felt trapped because of the pay dispute, she said.

Ms MacGregor took a human rights case against Mr Craig in 2014, although it was settled and a confidentiality agreement put in place.

She said she was "disgusted" by the idea of people thinking she had propositioned Mr Craig.

Mr Craig and she had initially had a "fun" relationship and were "good friends", but it was never sexual or romantic and had deteriorated by 2014, Ms MacGregor said.

"I could not stand this person, but I had to balance the fact he was my employer."

Ms MacGregor said she told Mr Williams about the allegations in confidence and didn't expect him to tell the party.

The case, in its second week, continues.

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