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I rejected her proposal: Craig

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/09/2016

Colin Craig  © Getty images Colin Craig  Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has told a court the press secretary he allegedly sexually harassed actually quit after he rejected her advances. 

Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams is suing Mr Craig, who he claims defamed him in a leaflet sent to 1.6 million homes, which he says accused him of spreading lies about the reasons behind the sudden resignation of Mr Craig's press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, days before the 2014 national election.

Mr Williams says he went to party officials out of concern for Ms MacGregor after she confided in him about alleged sexual harassment by Mr Craig.

On Friday, Mr Craig told the High Court at Auckland Ms MacGregor had told him: "I want to be with you, I want to be more than just your press secretary" four days before she resigned - but that he had firmly rejected her.

"At that point it was like someone dumped a bucket of cold water over me ... I was upset by Rachel's proposal," he said, adding he told her "not in this lifetime". "It was clear our working relationship and friendship had become too close and had to end."

Rachel MacGregor was the former press secretary for Colin Craig © Google+/Rachel MacGregor Rachel MacGregor was the former press secretary for Colin Craig

Ms MacGregor earlier told the court she had been harassed over a long period by Mr Craig and had confided in Mr Williams, not expecting him to tell the party.

Mr Craig told the court Mr Williams sent a string of allegations to blogger Cameron Slater and senior party member John Stringer as part of what he felt was an orchestrated "campaign" to force him out as leader.

They included that Mr Craig had sexually assaulted Ms MacGregor and that he had sent a text talking about "magic hands down panties", he said.

Mr Craig denied the allegations, but admitted they had kissed. "It was a bad mistake on my part, and I deeply regret it. But it was not non-consensual," he said.

Mr Craig also said he had never sent a text even close to one saying "I slept well because I dreamed I was between your naked legs" as Mr Williams had told the court, saying a forensic check of his phone had turned up nothing.

Ms MacGregor earlier told a court he had 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. He described the media "avalanche" that fell on him after the allegations were made public and said he had published the pamphlet - titled "Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas" to stop Mr Williams' "tactics".

Under cross-examination, Mr Craig admitted he had breached a confidentiality agreement between himself and Ms MacGregor from an earlier human rights case settlement a dozen times after she resigned while talking to media. But it was because he thought she had already breached it and was trying to defend himself, he said. The case continues.

Former Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig and his wife Helen Craig, in 2014. © Getty Former Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig and his wife Helen Craig, in 2014.

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