Judge scolds Craig and Slater in the High Court
Colin Craig and Cameron Slater have each been scolded by a judge in the Auckland High Court.
The former Conservative Party leader and the Whaleoil blogger are suing each other for defamation.
Craig, who is representing himself, was cross examining Slater on Thursday, when Justice Kit Toogood took exception to his methods.
"Mr Craig, you need to bear in mind there is not unlimited court time," Justice Toogood said.
Craig had been repeatedly asking Slater the same question, which was "unhelpful".
"Cross-examination is not an exercise in trying to persuade a witness to your point of view. It is soliciting evidence."
When Slater again insulted Craig while answering a question, Justice Toogood interjected again: "Mr Slater I said to you before, I don't need editorial comment. Answer the questions and confine yourself to the answers please."
The judge was unhappy with the slow pace of the trial, telling both parties they needed to "think about duration".
"You will need to understand we can't just conjure up court and judicial time out of the air."
The judge-alone trial is set down for three weeks, but could go on longer.
Earlier in the day Craig and Slater had clashed over whether it's possible to speak to God.
"Not one of my Christian friends ever talks about speaking with God," Slater said.
"And none of them certainly speaks about getting messages from God, and I thought that was weird."
Slater was referring to a letter Craig wrote to his former press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, on Christmas Eve 2014, in which he claimed he'd received instructions from God to "look after Rachel".
The two men are both Christian, but appear to have differing views on the nature of prayer.
"As a Christian yourself, isn't prayer a practice in the Christian religion?" Craig asked.
"I certainly have never had a conversation with God," Slater replied.
"Isn't prayer speaking to God?" Craig said.
"It requires two parties to have a conversation," Slater said. "I started wondering what accent did [God] have? Considering one of the poems was [titled] Two of Me, I wondered whether you'd actually been speaking with yourself."
Craig's letters to MacGregor were peppered with religious references and contained prayers.
Slater said he didn't believe Craig's relationship with MacGregor was consensual, but possibly the result of a power imbalance.
"If I was a female employee getting letters commenting on my breasts, saying how beautiful I was, I wouldn't have gone to the Human Rights Commission; I would have gone to the police."
A sexual harassment complaint MacGregor brought against Craig in 2014 was settled confidentially.
Craig also asked Slater if he accepted it was possible for people working together to develop more than just a professional relationship.
"If they think with their nether regions and not with their heads it can happen," Slater said.