Colin Craig threatened to 'destroy' Rachel MacGregor, court told

Rachel MacGregor says Colin Craig tried to "bully" her into silence.

Rachel MacGregor says Colin Craig tried to "bully" her into silence.

Rachel MacGregor has told a court that Colin Craig threatened her by saying he'd set aside $1 million to "destroy" her.

Craig's former press secretary claims the threat was made during a Human Rights Commission mediation after she brought a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Craig - the former Conservative Party leader - and Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater are suing each other for defamation at the High Court in Auckland.

Colin Craig and Rachel MacGregor, his former press secretary.

Colin Craig and Rachel MacGregor, his former press secretary.

Slater's lawyer Brian Henry on Tuesday asked MacGregor about the mediation and subsequent settlement agreement with Craig.

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MacGregor said that during the mediation, as her lawyer read out lines from letters Craig had written to her, "Colin was adamantly saying he treated me like a sister".

Colin Craig at the Auckland High Court.

Colin Craig at the Auckland High Court.

"Colin was just saying, 'yeah well I'd kiss my sister, I'd do what I said in the letter to my sister'. Me and my lawyer thought it was absurd.

"The only other thing I remember, was that he said he set aside a million dollars and that he was going to destroy me."

The sexual harassment complaint had been withdrawn as a result of their settlement agreement, but Henry asked MacGregor whether she had withdrawn the allegations.

"There is no way I have ever withdrawn my allegations," MacGregor said. 

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"To this day my allegations stand concrete strong. I withdrew my complaint because I had no longer time or energy to deal with this very weird man. I withdrew the complaint because I couldn't afford to deal with him any more."

MacGregor also described how Craig increased the interest on an $18,000 loan he'd given her, which she perceived as a "bullying tactic".

"He was trying to bully me into not going to court; that's exactly what he was doing. The interest was going up really, really quickly. It was going up monthly."

Craig had also given her two $10,000 advances for her work, as they couldn't agree on an hourly rate. In their settlement agreement, the advances and the loan were written-off and MacGregor was also paid $16,000.

Henry asked MacGregor how she felt when Craig breached the confidentiality of their settlement agreement by speaking publicly about her at a press conference in June 2015.

"I was mortified. He was trying to make me out to be crazy. He was trying to fudge the facts."

MacGregor has been giving evidence under subpoena. Craig is due to cross examine her on Wednesday.


Later on Tuesday, political journalist Barry Soper was called to give evidence under subpoena by Slater's lawyer.

Soper was the first journalist to learn of MacGregor's sudden resignation, two days out from the 2014 election.

Henry asked Soper to describe a phone call he made to her on the day she resigned.

"[MacGregor] was very upset; she was crying," he said. 

"She said she'd left the Conservative Party. I said, why have you done that? And she said Colin's a very manipulative man, and she was very distraught."

A media stand-up Craig gave on the day was played in court; it appeared to show Craig hearing the news MacGregor had resigned from the journalists questioning him.

Soper said the timing of MacGregor's resignation made it "the major story of the last 48 hours of the election campaign".

 - Stuff

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