Colin Craig's cross-examination of his former press secretary has begun.

It is not known how long it will last.

However, both Craig and Rachel MacGregor have experienced this before.

During the former Conservative Party leader's defamation trial with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater last May he questioned MacGregor for two full days.

Advertisement

"Do you accept that this proceeding is not in the interests of either party?" Craig, representing himself, asked the former TVNZ journalist.

"Do you accept that?" he reiterated.

MacGregor, having said as such earlier in her evidence-in-chief, replied yes.

"You do? Okay. Thank you for that," Craig replied.

Colin Craig is cross-examining Rachel MacGregor over their relationship and allegations against each other. Photo / Michael Craig
Colin Craig is cross-examining Rachel MacGregor over their relationship and allegations against each other. Photo / Michael Craig

"I'll just organise my paperwork here," Craig continued.

"We texted each other about all sorts of things, didn't we?" he asked MacGregor. "Around the world and back, so to speak."

Sitting behind Craig, MacGregor's lawyer Hayden Wilson said: "What does that mean?"

Craig quipped: "Everything under the sun."

Advertisement

"Work, health, diet, finances, relationships, family, spiritual things, things about God," he listed.

Craig and MacGregor are suing each other for defamation over what happened during the fallout from New Zealand's 2014 general election and the eventual end to Colin Craig's political career.

MacGregor was hired as Craig's press secretary in 2011 and they soon developed a close relationship, the High Court has heard this week.

But, MacGregor told the court yesterday their relationship became "inappropriate" after Craig began writing her poems and requesting back rubs.

She said Craig's messages often ended with "YAWAB", which means "you are wonderful and beautiful".

"It's quite nice being told all these nice things about you," MacGregor said.

Colin Craig's former press secretary Rachel MacGregor is on the witness stand. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Colin Craig's former press secretary Rachel MacGregor is on the witness stand. Photo / Brett Phibbs

However, things soured in the lead-up to the 2014 general election and Craig, an accountant by trade, told his wife Helen he thought MacGregor "appeared to be having a meltdown".

Just two days before the election MacGregor quit as press secretary.

"She admitted to me she had been having emotional affairs [with my husband]," Helen Craig told the court yesterday.

She would also later learn her husband had kissed MacGregor on election night 2011 and touched her breasts.

MacGregor said she kissed him back but regretted it and "was not physically attracted to him".

Helen Craig said: "I was not happy with Colin that he promised Rachel not to tell me about the election night incident."

MacGregor later filed a sexual harassment complaint against her boss.

Colin Craig has been married to his wife Helen for 27 years. Photo / Nick Reed
Colin Craig has been married to his wife Helen for 27 years. Photo / Nick Reed

A confidential settlement between him and MacGregor was reached in May 2015, however, it soon became public.

In 2016, Colin Craig was ordered to pay MacGregor more than $120,000 by the Human Rights Review Tribunal after it ruled he breached the confidentiality agreement in interviews with the press.

Craig argues MacGregor defamed him three times.

Firstly by what MacGregor told New Zealand Taxpayers' Union founder Jordan Williams, then in a media release by MacGregor in June 2015, and also in a tweet on the same day.

"I have never defamed him," MacGregor said yesterday.

"I told a small group of friends in confidence that I had been sexually harassed by Colin Craig ... I did not broadcast it."

MacGregor's lawyers, Linda Clark and Wilson, claim she was defamed in four instances.

Twice in two press conferences held by Colin Craig, in a booklet titled Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas which was delivered to 1.6 million Kiwi households, and in a letter to Conservative Party members.

Craig defamed MacGregor by alleging she made false claims of sexual harassment, the now public affairs manager's lawyers argue.

Justice Anne Hinton is presiding over the trial. Photo / Michael Craig
Justice Anne Hinton is presiding over the trial. Photo / Michael Craig

Craig withdrew his claim for damages on Monday - day one of the trial - after he became aware MacGregor could not pay him if he won the case.

He also has had defamation proceedings against, what he calls, the trio of "schemers".

They are Williams, Conservative Party board member John Stringer, and Slater.

It is estimated Craig spent $1 million in legal fees in his case against Williams.

In the meantime, Craig v MacGregor continues.