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

Colin Craig's wife to speak about his relationship with former press secretary

Wife expected to support politician in defamation trial’s third week.
Helen and Colin Craig. Photo / Nick Reed
Helen and Colin Craig. Photo / Nick Reed

Colin Craig's wife will finally speak about his relationship with his former press secretary and the kiss they shared on the night of the 2011 general election when she takes the stand at his defamation trial this week.

Helen Craig will be called as a witness for her husband and will tell the jury exactly what she thought of what he has called "inappropriate" affection towards Rachel MacGregor.

Craig is on trial for allegedly defaming Taxpayers' Union director Jordan Williams, a friend of MacGregor's, who resigned suddenly two days before the 2014 general election.

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After her resignation MacGregor turned to Williams for support, and told him she had made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission that Craig had sexually harassed her.

She shared letters and poems the politician sent her. Williams then revealed the details to other Conservative Party members.

When Craig found out he publicly claimed Williams was part of a group of "culprits" determined to have him removed as party leader through a "campaign" of "false accusations".

Williams then filed defamation proceedings in the High Court, saying he did not lie about Craig.

The trial will go into its third week tomorrow.

Craig gave evidence on Friday and is now under cross examination by Williams' lawyer, Peter McKnight.

That cross examination will be completed on Monday, then Helen Craig is expected to be called.

She supported her husband in the court room for the first day of the trial but as she is a witness was excluded from the proceedings until after she has given her evidence.

Last week Craig told the jury his wife would recount to them in her own words what she thought of MacGregor's allegations and her reaction to the night her husband kissed his press secretary.

Craig admitted he kissed MacGregor on the night of the 2011 general election.

He deeply regretted the kiss, but he said it was consensual and he came clean soon after to his wife.

He said he was grateful for Helen Craig's support and love through what had been a very difficult "season" in their marriage.

Craig also admitted in court that his wife had helped him to write the pamphlet Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas in which he allegedly defamed Williams.

What Rachel MacGregor told Helen Craig

Rachel MacGregor arrives at the Auckland High Court to testify. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Rachel MacGregor arrives at the Auckland High Court to testify. Photo / Brett Phibbs

When MacGregor gave evidence she told the jury she contacted Helen Craig soon before her resignation and offered to tell her "everything".

"She says I called and 'confessed to (her]) that (I) had been having "emotional affairs" with (her) husband.' This is not correct," MacGregor said in court.

"I did call her. I told her I wanted her to hear from me rather than through the media that her husband had been treating me inappropriately, and that I believed he was having an emotional affair with me. She said to me something to the effect of: 'Well, what's been your part in this?'

"I did admit to Helen that on election night 2011 Mr Craig and I had kissed and that he had touched my breast. Helen was silent on the other end of the phone for a few moments. She then said something which made me think she did not believe me. "To the best of my recollection, I said to her words to the effect, 'Look, Helen, I'm not making this up. I have numerous letters that your husband has written to me.'

"I offered to meet with her at a cafe and show her the letters. She said that she would be in touch after she had time to think about it.

"I have not heard from her since."

MacGregor went on to say that Helen Craig would likely tell the jury that her husband "is a kind man who would never intentionally" hurt anyone.

"From my own experience, that is completely untrue," MacGregor said.

- NZ Herald

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