Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig "enormously" damaged his own reputation by exposing himself as a hypocrite, a judge has said.
Craig is appealing a judge's decision after he ruled blogger Cameron Slater had defamed him on some points, but not others. The judge also decided not to award damages, which Craig is also appealing.
Craig and Whale Oil's Slater had earlier counter-sued each other for defamation over allegations involving Craig's press secretary Rachel MacGregor.
Slater claimed Craig sexually harassed MacGregor, had given her a "large sum of hush money", had lied to the Conservative Party and the public about the accusations, and called him a "sexual deviant" who was engaged in politically "devious conduct".
In response to the allegations, Craig published a booklet called Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas which he distributed to 1.6 million Kiwi households and held a press conference.
Slater counter-sued Craig for what he said in the pamphlet and at the press conference.
In a more than 200-page judgment released in 2018, Justice Kit Toogood ruled Slater had defamed Craig, but declined to award damages.
The judge said Craig "was guilty of moderately serious sexual harassment" against MacGregor "on multiple occasions from early 2012 to 2014".
Just two days before the 2014 election MacGregor spectacularly quit as press secretary and later filed a sexual harassment complaint against Craig.
In the Court of Appeal in Wellington today, Craig's lawyer, Julian Miles QC, said Slater's claims were "really serious allegations".
But Justice Stephen Kos said Craig's reputation was also badly affected by information that came out during the trial, which revealed the married ex-politician had been romantically involved with MacGregor.
"I take your point about the extreme allegations . . . but at the heart of the matter, his own reputation was deeply damaged by what did emerge at this trial, and that showed that a man who had professed Christian and family values was essentially a hypocrite. That is enormously damaging," Justice Kos said.
Miles said at the time Slater claimed to have evidence of "serious sexual harassment", all he actually had was an "excruciatingly bad" poem.
"It's not particularly sexual, it's just embarrassingly bad," Miles said.
"When he was saying these are verifiable facts, based on documents, they're lies."
Justice Toogood had ruled Slater defamed Craig with the untrue statements Craig had placed MacGregor under financial pressure to sleep with him and had sexually harassed at least one victim other than MacGregor.
Other false allegations included the claims Craig had sent sexually explicit text messages, paid a six-figure sum to settle a sexual harassment claim, and sexually harassed two or more women.
But, Justice Toogood said: "I have also held that the reputational damage which Mr Craig suffered throughout the events traversed at length in this judgment resulted almost entirely from his own actions.
"I conclude, therefore, that Mr Craig is not entitled to an award of general damages to compensate him further for such damage."
The appeal is set down for two days.