22 Jun 2015

Colin Craig rejects sexual harassment allegations

6:48 pm on 22 June 2015

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says there was some inappropriate conduct between himself and his former press secretary, but flatly rejects any allegation of sexual harassment.

Colin Craig during the press conference announcing his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party (19 June).

Colin Craig during the press conference announcing his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Mr Craig resigned as party leader on Friday so the party could consider the leadership position.

His former press secretary Rachel MacGregor suddenly resigned just before last year's election.

Mr Craig told media today that there had been a great deal of wild and inaccurate speculation about sexual harassment.

"In hindsight, on some occasions, our conduct was inappropriate," he said.

"Let me make it very clear - I have never sexually harassed anyone and any allegations to the contrary are wrong."

Mr Craig refused to go into any detail about what the inappropriate conduct was.

He said he received an invoice from Ms MacGregor last year for $50,000, which there was some disagreement over. He said in the end $36,000 was paid.

Mr Craig was accompanied to today's press conference by his wife, who told media that her husband had been falsely accused.

"I wanted to say how difficult the last few days have been, with these wild and defamatory allegations being thrown around by the media, both for ourselves and the wider family, particularly as the speculations relate to allegations already withdrawn.

"Colin is a good man and it has been distressing for me to see his character and reputation under constant attack."

Mr Craig said he remained a member of the Conservative Party, and had further discussions to have with the board.

Statement from Rachel MacGregor

Ms MacGregor released a statement this afternoon saying Mr Craig's statements today breached a confidentiality agreement that the two reached during Human Rights Commission mediation.

She said, despite Mr Craig's public comments, she had been advised by her lawyers that she was still bound by the confidentiality agreement.

"I am therefore unable to correct the clear factual inaccuracies contained in the statement Mr Craig made today without jeopardising my legal position.

"I am willing to correct those inaccuracies if Mr Craig confirms that he will not take legal action under the confidentiality agreement when I do so.

"I am also willing to fully brief the Conservative Party board on Mr Craig's conduct but, again, this would require Mr Craig's consent."