Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Christine Rankin on Colin Craig: 'I was never allowed in that office without knocking'

Colin Craig with his wife Helen during a press conformance. Photo / Dean Purcell
Colin Craig with his wife Helen during a press conformance. Photo / Dean Purcell

Former Conservative Party chief executive Christine Rankin has slammed her former colleague Colin Craig during her evidence at his defamation trial this afternoon.

Rankin has told the jury that she joined the political party because she wanted to work for Craig, who she saw as someone who "stood for a higher moral standard in politics".

"The Conservative Party's whole platform was based on ethics and moral values," she said.

"Like Jordan (Williams), I was 100 per cent behind Colin, but I now see that I was wrong to be."

Rankin is giving evidence in support of Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams who launched civil proceedings after Craig allegedly defamed him last year at a press conference and again in a leaflet sent to more than 1.6 million households.

Craig claimed Williams and others were liars and had spread false accusations about him following the sudden resignation of his press secretary Rachel MacGregor.

Williams says he did not lie, and that the information he passed on about Craig to other Conservative Party members in the wake of MacGregor's resignation following allegations of his sexual harassment of her is genuine and truthful.

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Colin Craig and Christine Rankin on the election campaign trail in 2014. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Colin Craig and Christine Rankin on the election campaign trail in 2014. Photo / Brett Phibbs

One of the people Williams went to was Rankin, who then confronted Craig.

Rankin told the jury that she believed Williams had "conducted himself in the most honest way".

"In all of my dealings with Jordan ... He has acted with full integrity. I believe what Jordan did was right, he told the truth, he stood up for someone who was being majorly bullied and he did the right thing," she said.


Christine Rankin. Photo / Chris Loufte
Christine Rankin. Photo / Chris Loufte

Craig's lawyer Stephen Mills QC has cross-examined Rankin this afternoon, asking her about her dealings with Williams, the specifics of the information she was given regarding MacGregor and how she dealt with it.

Mills asked Rankin why she did not reveal to the then-party leader who had given her the information about his alleged sexual harassment when she confronted him last year.

Rankin was clear. "Colin would go after him with everything he had," she said.

She said while Williams had asked her not to act on the information she felt bound to confront Craig with the information.

It was not the first time Rankin had heard rumours about Craig and MacGregor having an inappropriate relationship, and now that there appeared to be hard evidence, she needed to act.

"This is very serious for a political party like ours. I could not leave it alone. I had to put it to Colin and hear what he had to say," she said.

"In my heart I knew that there was something very wrong ... I had confronted Colin about it on several occasions because I was worried.

"It certainly looked as though something very unusual was going on ... I was never allowed in that office without knocking ... curtains went up ... the atmosphere, you could almost touch it, it was very embarrassing ...

"There were many, many, many things," Rankin said.

"I knew from the way he was skirting the questions that I was asking that he was not telling me the real story ... I know the way he answers questions when he wants to avoid things, and that's what he was doing."

Rankin said when Williams informed her that Craig had sent a sex text to MacGregor it was "the icing on the cake".

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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