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Back to basics

Written By: - Date published: 5:07 pm, June 11th, 2009 - 50 comments
Categories: john key, national, richard worth - Tags:

Radio NZ is playing John Key saying that, following the letter from the woman in the sexual harassment saga, he has “washed his hands” of Richard Worth. It seems likely he will move to have Worth expelled from caucus.

Good to see he chose a sensible path rather than the ‘attack the woman’ strategy the Nats’ misogynist foot soldiers (including John Armstrong, watch out for his next column) have run.

So, that’s done and dusted. Key accepts that Worth was sexually harassing this woman. It would be good if he calls off the dogs too.

Now Key just needs to tell us what stories about Worth led Key not to appoint him Speaker and answer the final question, which was the first question:

Why did he fire Richard Worth?

Update: Listening to the full piece on Checkpoint, sounds like Key won’t be moving to expel Worth from caucus at this stage but is clearly putting the pressure on Worth to resign from Parliament off his own bat.

50 comments on “Back to basics ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    I don’t know if I would go quite that far.

    I understand that Worth had told key and sent several texts to the woman. Clearly 30-odd texts makes that statement a lie. Lying to the PM wouldn’t win him any favours. Also, the texts that were published in the Media, while not being particularly lewd in themselves, do show Worth to be a stupid plonka for even thinking he could form a romantic relationship with someone so far out of his league.

    I think both these reasons would be enough for Key to wash his hands of Worth regardless of what he thinks of the remaining allegations.

    I guess only Key could tell us. However, apparently he has been sworn to secrecy.

    Anyway, I have had enough of this whole thing. I think it is time to draw a discrete veil over what has been quite a sordid little tale.

    • Merlin 1.1

      Give it up loser.

    • gobsmacked 1.2

      I think it is time to draw a discrete veil over what has been quite a sordid little tale.

      But here’s your problem. Key wants Worth out of caucus, and out of Parliament.


      And why should Worth go? After all, you’ve worked so very hard to “prove” his innocence. If he’s done nothing wrong, why should he be forced out?

  2. Wendy 2

    Will all you who have attacked this woman relentlessly with no evidence, just fantasies in your head and deeply ingrained misogyny, now have the decency and honour to apologise?

    • r0b 2.1

      Don’t hold your breath Wendy. I have been sickened at what some right wing nutjob commenters have stooped to. Decency and Honour are not in their vocabularies.

      Key, to his credit, has enough of these qualities, or at least enough basic common sense, not to go down that path, and has thus cut the ground out from under these creeps.

      Maybe we can get back to arguing politics now…

      • Daveski 2.1.1

        r0b will realise it pains me to say this but well said. Couldn’t agree more and refreshing to have more than a cartoonish view of Key represented.

        Worth is a leper who deserves to be and should be shunned. It will also cast a shadow over MMP (list MP’s) if he stays but he seems completely self centred.

        There’s more important issues at stake.

        And seeing I’m being so damn nice, there isn’t a place to say this but I think LP was right to persist with the in comment threads rather than the traditional linear comments. It’s much better once you get used to it.

        • r0b

          r0b will realise it pains me to say this

          Indeed, so all the more bravo for saying it.

          There’s more important issues at stake.

          Ain’t that the truth. (Which is not to say that I think those that slugged it out with the few individuals who made a huge issue of the woman in the Worth business were wrong to do so, it’s just that I sure didn’t have the patience to do it!).

          LP was right to persist with the in comment threads

          Hmmm, maybe I even agree with you there too. If the “Recent Comments” list on the right listed only comments on this post, so there was still a chronological list as well as the thread structure, that would be perfect…

  3. the sprout 3

    and why did he hire Richard Worth if he knew a lot of this in the first place?

  4. logie97 4

    Now that John has all but dismissed Harry Worth
    the interesting question must already be what sort
    of fight National will make in the future for the Blue Ribbon
    seat of Remuera. Were they always happy to see him
    beaten by Wodney, allow him to fail as a list MP and then
    put up someone credible in the seat again? Watch out

  5. Merlin 5

    I think we might find that tsmithfield and Tim Ellis are awfully silent for a few days.

    They won’t apologise for their unfounded attacks on this woman. In their world, women are always to blame.

  6. Tom Semmens 6

    New Zealand is rated the least corrupt country in the world, and the immediate sacking of Richard Worth at the merest whiff of corruptly attempting to use his office to offer jobs to procure sexual favours shows why.

    John Key is guilty of appalling political management over this, which calls into judgement his ability to keep a firm hand on his government. He is not guilty of anything else.

    Phil Goff has acted with total honesty and revealed he doesn’t watch trash T.V. like “Girls of the Playboy Mansion”.

    The media has generally shown restraint in the whole naming thing.

    All in all, the only thing that gave this legs were several needless own goals from John Key.

    The people who came out of this looking really, really, really bad are the right wing online commentariat and their handlers like David Farrar and Cameron Slater, who have been revealed as members of a women hating patriarchy and social dinosaurs.

    The whole issue has starkly exposed the sneering misogyny of these people and most dispassionate observers have drawn their own conclusions from this.

  7. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Is it too much to hope for that the rest of us will now follow suit and stop obsessing over this grubby little man and his ridiculous sleaze?

    FGS if I want to read about a sorry middle-aged mans pathetic, failed attempts at sexual conquest I’ll open my diary…

  8. Cactus Kate 8

    “Why did he fire Richard Worth?”

    For the millionth time – Worth was on his last chance with Key over the private nature of his India trip early in the year when that blew up and related shrinkage from discovery he was a Director of all sorts of private companies with conflicts of interests. The Labour Honey Trap wasn’t the consideration for his removal.

    News that the NZ Police would be investigating him for allegedly even being in the same hotel as the Korean lady would have been the straw that broke the camels back. He got sacked.

    Again – name one National Party aligned blogger who has suggested that Worth shouldn’t have been sacked? None. Very few even think he should stay on as an MP. I can’t think of any who have supported even that.

    I thought that Labour’s hierarchy ordered The Standard to shut this issue down?

    • lprent 8.1

      I thought that Labour’s hierarchy ordered The Standard to shut this issue down?

      Please don’t masturbate in public. You should confine your fantasies to the bedroom.

      • burt 8.1.1


        I don’t think Cactus has kids and she possibly lives alone, I’m not picking she will take much notice of the suggestion that she should only use bedrooms.

    • andy 8.2

      With the concerted “The Stranded” effort this weekend to heap blame on John Key and rabidly defend Phil Goff over his handling of Witness A where in the intervening period before 6th May, Witness B claims she was sexually assaulted, don’t Labour just look even more politically motivated.

      Your quote from your blog…

      Seems the letter was enough for the PM, and was happy with the contents. Key is also happy to keep the contents of said letter quiet. Seems like Goff was in the clear and Key has backed down.

      Impertinent question:

      1. Will Cactus admit that John Key has handled this like an amateur?

      2. Why does key “need’ to keep the contents of the letter private.?

      3. When will the professional victims of the right admit that Witness A has nothing to do with Worths sacking/washing of the hands, and all to do with John Keys poor handling?

      4. Will Armstrong work in the Nats press office before the end of the year?


    • Hi Cactus

      I agree with the first part of your post.

      Worth was history no matter what Goff and Choudrey said.

      I am really disturbed at the treatment she has received. It is one thing for politicians to be smeared and checked into, they are on the payroll, it is no more than what they can expect. But party activists should not be subject to this. Does everyone have to be put through the siev?

      Is politics to become an incessant battle of which member of which party can be slimed by the appropriate google search?

      If Worth was toast why not acknowledge this and move onto the next issue rather than try and slime Choudrey. Instead of that there has been this full on assault on her without an eventual goal? All sorts of suggestions have been cast about the accuracy of what she has said but there has been no proof whatsoever that what she said was not truthful. And you seem to acknowledge that what she has said was accurate, that is that Worth is a womanising piece of *&^%.

      • mike 8.3.1

        “If Worth was toast why not acknowledge this and move onto the next issue rather than try and slime Choudrey”

        This would have been the case had Goff not tried to milk it for political gain.
        He took the attack to Key – Choudrey would still be anon but for his grandstanding

    • burt 8.4


      If lprents eluding to your fantasies has offended you then I suggest you report it to your favourite political party leader.

      Oh, also tell lprent it’s left you feeling uncomfortable and lprent might give himself the bash.

  9. VT aka daVince 9

    Left wondering about the straitness of TS and his tribe per above, and what specifically, might have brought this about from the ‘top’.. after such diatribes, conjectures and whatevers of feign support.

    well, I’ll admit to what very likely moved cessation and withdrawal from those who really should have known better.. NRT is onto it.. I reckon.

    ps: no harm in Wendy asking for one. nor others suggesting (from experience) that she wouldn’t have gotten one, but I also reckon the informative link does the work on her behalf..

  10. tsmithfield 10

    And why should Worth go? After all, you’ve worked so very hard to “prove’ his innocence. If he’s done nothing wrong, why should he be forced out?

    I have said a number of times that Worth is an idiot and needs to go. Heck, on one of my posts the other day, I even said I hoped the woman came up with something so lewd it would force Worth out.

    So, do you agree that the reasons I cited above would be enough in themselves to motivate Key to wash his hands of Worth? Yes or No.

    • gobsmacked 10.1

      But Smithy, you fudge the issue (whether deliberately or not, I don’t know. I’ll assume you simply misunderstand).

      Key can “wash his hands” of Worth as a Minister for any old reason. No problem there.

      What he wants to do is get rid of an MP. From the caucus, and from Parliament. That is very different. He needs grounds to do the former, and can’t do the latter at all. (unless convicted etc, but that’s months or years away).

      So Key has to have good grounds for expelling Worth from caucus. The reasons have to be made public (they will be leaked anyway, and of course Worth can say what he likes to the media). And – crucially – they have to be grounds that don’t set a preceedent. Being an ex-Minister who screwed up is not a good precedent. He’ll be emptying his caucus before long.

      Sexual harrassment might be a good reason. Offering appointments in exchange for sexual favours might be a good reason. Being a plonka, as you put it, would not.

      D’ye see?

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        And, telling lies to the PM in a written statement?

        The other point is, that even the texts that were released showed that Worth was prepared to compromise himself in a way that could be dangerous for the party. For instance, telling secrets on bed pillows to someone who National would regard as the enemy.

        I honestly don’t think he is fit to be an MP on the basis of this stuff alone. How about you?

        • gobsmacked

          “telling lies to the PM in a written statement”

          Thereby admitting that Ms Choudhary should have been believed, and that Key’s investigation failed?

          Phil Goff will be beaming.

          • tsmithfield

            The PM had two statements in front of him.

            One from Worth
            One from the complainant.

            The one from Worth said there were only several texts. The one from the complainant said there were lots of texts, and came with the supporting evidence of lots of actual texts. Therefore, the complainants statement was more consistent, so I think Key preferred the complainants statement over Worths because the complainants was the most credible of the two.

          • gobsmacked

            (sorry, this should be lower down)

            But he sacked him last week, when he didn’t have the woman’s account, let alone the texts.

            This raises an interesting point, PB.

            Most people don’t follow politics that closely, and the Worth story has moved fast and it’s a bit of a blur. Following public opinion (blogs, talkback, conversations, etc), it’s struck me how many people simply don’t distinguish between the two separate women, and two separate situations.

            Here’s one example (there are plenty more):


            That person has got it plain wrong. So have many others.

            Worth resigned. Key was unclear (still is) about the reason. Then a completely different story took over. And that story has become the “Worth saga”.

            Key thought he could opt for silence, on day one. Big mistake.

            Myth has filled the vacuum.

        • Pascal's bookie

          I’m not sure what lie you suggest he told to the PM. (30 vs several?) And why wouldn’t Key tell us this.

          I wonder if Key asked Worth for the affidavit when this blew up last week and Worth wouldn’t sign it?

          Getting the affidavit would cover Key about his ‘investigation’ of the claims. If a request for the affidavit was refused, the investigation amounted to key being suckered by Worth.

          Refusing to give a promised affidavit denying the allegations would most definitely be a sacking offense, and would explain both the lack of any public denials from Worth, and Key’s reticence about the proximate reason for Worth’s sacking.

          Just a theory, but it’s only got the one bit of conjecture in it, and it accounts for everyone’s behaviour.

          But I doubt we’ll ever know. That’s up to Worth.

          • tsmithfield

            There has been so much on all this. However, I remember Key saying something at the start when he got the statement from Worth that it admitted to several texts. Don’t ask me to reference it now.

            The point I was trying to make is I don’t think Key had to address his mind to the claims that were unsupported by the texts. All he had to do was consider the two accounts and which were most consistent with the evidence. Once he decided that, it would have been a simple decision as to which one he would accept.

            The fact that the complainants account claimed lots of texts and lots of texts were produced from Worth would have been enough.

          • Pascal's bookie

            But he sacked him last week, when he didn’t have the woman’s account, let alone the texts.

  11. mike 11

    More Goff lies exposed on 3 News tonight

    * When pressed by Garner about the “see through garment” Goofy admitted that one was not actually mentioned instead an Indian garment called a Zardosi was (which is actually an embroidery technique you muppet)

    * Again when questioned by Garner Phil comes clean and admits Ms Choudary did not actually write the tabled document herself it was a labour staffer – good grief

    I actually do feel a bit sorry for this poor lady as I’m sure she didn’t imagine the hapless Goff would let her down so badly and I hope it does end here – only as I think any more damage to labour would see Phil on his bike and thats the last thing we want…

    • gobsmacked 11.1

      “Again when questioned by Garner Phil comes clean and admits Ms Choudary did not actually write the tabled document herself it was a labour staffer – good grief”

      Which was publicly stated by Goff days ago, when the document was tabled. All on the record.

      Bad luck.

    • andy 11.2

      Why is key washing his hands of Worth after the letter? Why are you always a victim of the left?

    • GFraser 11.3

      Mike, It was Key who bolloxed this whole thing up not Goff.
      Goff does not need to “lie”.
      Right through this affair Key has been hopelessly out of his depth, I guess it’s the price the nats have to pay for electing a novice m.p. to leader.
      TV3’s coverage was nothing short of disgraceful this evening, by making a big deal of the bloke who had dealt with Ms Choudary seven years ago, Garner is certainly toeing the government line.
      Duncan if you were a true political journo, would you not be persuing Worth? After all how many appointments did Worth make as a minister? How many were female? etc. etc.
      Finally Mike, Goff stated that the letter was written down by a Labour staffer during a phone call with Ms Choudary, the letter was then passed onto Ms. Choudary for her to ok. This she did. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story eh?

  12. Ianmac 12

    It is very interesting as a spectator here. The function that TSmithfield and others play is very useful, because they put another slant on things that make you think. I don’t very often agree with their slant but would welcome them in a brainstorming session should there ever be a need. Imagine them with the best brains from the bloggers on this site hammering out on a bipatisan issue like Super, or Supercity, or indeed on a murder trial. Powerful.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Pascals Bookie: But he sacked him last week, when he didn’t have the woman’s account, let alone the texts.

    Obviously Key is aware of something re the Korean woman that might not be criminal but never-the-less is unbecoming a minister. For instance, if he orchestrated details surrounding a government function in order to get into the womans pants, it may well be sackable even if the woman willingly consented at the time. Perhaps Worth used government money for this purpose. I think Key has already said some time ago he doesn’t want to go into the reasons right at the moment, so we should respect that.

    I don’t think Key can afford to have someone in his government who’s judgement is swayed by every second bit of skirt that crosses his path. So, I am glad to see Worth go.

    I guess you would prefer him to stay in the government to be an ongoing source of mirth, entertainment, and distraction for the government?

  14. mike 14


  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    “I guess you would prefer him to stay in the government to be an ongoing source of mirth, entertainment, and distraction for the government?”

    Err, no. I wanted him sacked about the India trip.

    And I don’t know why the other is obvious. It’s unknown, is what it is. Which is weird. Usually we get to know why Ministers get sacked.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    Pascals Bookie “And I don’t know why the other is obvious. It’s unknown, is what it is. Which is weird. Usually we get to know why Ministers get sacked.”

    A tautology. But it obviously was something serious enough to get him sacked because he was sacked.

    I think Key did say all would be made known in time, so we will just need to be patient. Perhaps what he knows could be prejudicial to any future legal proceedings against Worth, so he is keeping it quiet for now.

    • mike 16.1

      and you can be sure he won’t resurface after the dust settles re helen c

    • Pascal's bookie 16.2

      But it’s not ‘obviously’ anything to do with the Korean woman case. I thought Key actually denied that at some point.

    • felix 16.3

      Sacked? Well first he resigned and then he was sacked. I’m sure you remember the resignation, don’t you?

      Also as I’m a bit thick, could you point out the tautology? I don’t see one.

    • TS

      “I think Key did say all would be made known in time, so we will just need to be patient”

      So how about instead of smearing Neelam’s name you hold off until we know why Worth was sacked and then we can determine if Neelam’s concerns and Phil’s objections were appropriate or not.

      • felix 16.4.1

        No I think he means for everyone else to be patient so he has time to peddle his smears without the constant interruption.

  17. dave 17

    when questioned by Garner Phil comes clean and admits Ms Choudary did not actually write the tabled document herself it was a labour staffer – good grief’

    Which was publicly stated by Goff days ago, when the document was tabled. All on the record.

    Except “all” was not on the record. What was not on the record was that the statement was not taken word for word, and that no mention of a transparent garment was mentioned in the correspondence between Choudary and Worth, but Choudary saw fit to mention it in the statement. Nor did she say that she filled Goff in before the initial meeting with Worth at the cafe. She wanted people to think she was naive, not a wannabe MP who is vurrently involved in a by-electin campaign.

  18. Pat 18

    Tom S wrote “Phil Goff has acted with total honesty…”

    From The Press 5 June:

    “These texts were several invitations to go swimming, late-night texts to go out to dinner, an invitation to go on holiday in India with Dr Worth, and to wear see-through clothing,’ Goff said.

    Goff is no saint. The see-through clothing comment was pure spin designed for shock value.

  19. tsmithfield 19

    Felix “Sacked? Well first he resigned and then he was sacked. I’m sure you remember the resignation, don’t you?”

    Call it what you like. So far as I am concerned, if he was told, “resign or be sacked” it is pretty much the same thing.

    Mickey Savage “So how about instead of smearing Neelam’s name you hold off until we know why Worth was sacked and then we can determine if Neelam’s concerns and Phil’s objections were appropriate or not.”

    So is it never OK to examine the victim, Mickey? There have been documented cases of women who falsely accuse rape. Should we wait until the accused has been put through an unnecessary trial before examining whether the accuser has told the truth or not, especially when there are glaring areas of concern?

    In the case at hand there were a number of very concerning issues:

    1. Possible political motivations given that Worth has been the target of the opposition for months.
    2. Glaring inconsistencies in both the woman’s and Goff’s stories. Some more of these are pointed out above. However, I have said I am finished with this now, so I won’t comment further.

  20. Outofbed 20

    I am finished with this now, so I won’t comment further


    • tsmithfield 20.1

      There’s a lot more I could be talking about if I had a mind to. Would you like me to give some examples?

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