Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with?

The sad, ragged ballad of Colin Craig and Rachel MacGregor - the former political party leader and his former press secretary, formerly in a relationship that started with a kiss and never actually went any further - played to an empty courtroom 14 at the High Court of Auckland today.

The only people there were people who had a professional reason to be there. No spectators, no idly curious, despite the fact that the courtroom was filled with song.

If you listened really carefully, you could hear music playing in the background of the evidence given by Craig. It was faint. It sounded like a tinny radio transistor playing in another room. But there it was, sounding like a terrible old country music dirge - the soundtrack of the doomed and dismal "emotional affair" between Craig and MacGregor.


Their hapless infatuation cost Craig his position as leader of the Conservative Party, and has led to a dizzying number of stoushes in court. The latest is the dispute between Craig and his nemesis, Cameron Slater of Whale Oil infamy; each are claiming the other published material which was libellous and most damaging to their character.

Everything comes back to Craig and MacGregor, to Colin and Rachel, up a tree, k-i-s-s, i-n-g - just once, on election night in November 2011.

"The election night incident," said Craig.

"The election night event," said Slater's lawyer, Brian Henry.

Craig took the stand on Monday and talked about the kiss.

"We had fallen short of our Christian values," he lamented. But they agreed not to let it go any further than that, he told Justice Kit Toogood.

Toogood nodded, and said, "And by that, do you mean actually having a physical sexual relationship?"

His Honour had introduced the dread word into the courtroom: sex. Craig gulped, and said, "Correct."


A bright light shone on Toogood's bare skull. It was like a spotlight; and as he asked Craig numerous questions about his "affair of the heart" with MacGregor, it became evident something else was going on. If you listened really carefully, Toogood was actually singing the rock classic by Foreigner: "I want to know what love is. I want you to show me!"

Craig talked about the back massages MacGregor gave him, the time he looked down her top, an anguished conversation on a flight from Napier to Auckland.

"If we were both free to do so," he said to Toogood, who was all ears, "I think we would have had a sexual relationship."

The opening line of this story is a question posed by the great English band The Buzzcocks. It was the title of their 1978 smash hit.

In Craig's version of events, his desire for her had faded, but MacGregor was reluctant to simply remain friends.

So much music, so little joy. Toogood studied Craig, the Foreigner song no doubt blaring inside his head.

The country dirge also played on in court, slow and endless, as Craig continued to describe the unrequited office romance that went horribly, horribly wrong.