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“Corrupt!”

Written By: - Date published: 4:19 pm, March 30th, 2009 - 62 comments
Categories: corruption, national/act government - Tags:

National rode to power off the back of years of rhetoric accusing the last Labour government of corruption.

Who can forget the screams from the Nats? – “Corrupt! Corrupt! Corrupt!” they cried. The boys in blue were going to deliver us a new era of transparency and accountable government.

Interesting then to see a report in today’s Dom Post raising questions over Richard Worth’s private business dealings in India while he was acting as a Minister of the Crown.

At the very least it shows a serious lack of judgement from one of John Key’s ministers over his potential conflict of interest. At worst it suggests Worth may have abused his public position in the pursuit of private gain.

Of course, it would be foolish to jump to either conclusion until more information has come to light. But it does look rather hypocritical given all their rhetoric over the last few years.

62 comments on ““Corrupt!” ”

  1. BLiP 1

    Classic National – the boundary between business and politics has become so blurred none of the MP’s can tell the difference.

  2. gobsmacked 2

    Richard Worth has opted for the time-honoured “I did nothing wrong, but I won’t do it again” defence.

    After a “conversation” with John Key (presumably one-way, and short) he’s now done what he should have done when he became a Minister, and removed his sticky fingers from Indian pies.

  3. Ari 3

    You’d think given this was essentially the sort of thing their campaign was about that they’d have plans in place not to make the same mistakes.

    Assuming, of course, they actually thought they were going to have to live up to their campaign.

  4. Ray 4

    And this story was broken by whom
    The man who hit a woman who he thought might embarrass the last PM
    I just can just see the headlines from the “Standard” if a minister had smacked anyone in the same circumstances

    Surely corruption means that the Minister gained a financial advantage, please explain?

    • BLiP 4.1

      And this story is about whom?

      The man who has so little respect for New Zealand he would rather saunter off on a tourist jaunt than attend a significant Maori Battalion comemoration.

      Such are our leaders these days.

    • Felix 4.2

      And this story was broken by whom

      Irrelevant. Discuss the story instead please.

      • r0b 4.2.1

        Well, irrelevant and also incorrect, Hodgson “hit” no one, he restrained someone he thought was going to assault the PM.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    “Surely corruption means that the Minister gained a financial advantage, please explain?”

    Therefore delete countless allegations of corruption over the last nine years.

    Cheers, Ray.

  6. Johnty Rhodes 6

    Well at least it has been dealt with. unlike Dunhoven, Winston etc. They festered for ages. Will all be forgotten in a week.

    • BLiP 6.1

      No. Richard “Dick” Worth has been dealt with. He is but a sympton of the “it” you refer to, i.e., the endogenous corruption festering within the National Party; that has still to be dealt with. But, as you sort of say, at least we’ve made a start.

      • jimbo 6.1.1

        Total crock of sh1t, that comment, BLiP.

        • BLiP 6.1.1.1

          I see National has broken another election promise – this time in relation to Pay Centres – I guess in your sad world dishonesty doesn’t equate to corruption??

  7. justthefacts 7

    Of course it is relevant who broke the story, however even if you leave that aside I do find it a bit rich for Labour party people to be beating up this non story.

    Given the epidemic levels of corruption inside the last Labour government I would have thought you guys might have decided to keep your heads down.

    Still, if you want to keep reminding the people of NZ why they kicked you out then who am I to stop you.

    Time to move on people.

    • r0b 7.1

      Given the epidemic levels of corruption

      Uh huh.

      Time to move on people.

      You wish! Honeymoon’s over, National get held to account. Good luck.

    • Chris G 7.2

      ‘non story’ enough for it to be on the news.

      oh okay..

  8. mike 8

    Great to see JK dealing with (and dealing to) the guilty ministers so quickly.
    Something you guys wish Clark could have done I’m sure…

    • the sprout 8.1

      how has John Key dealt with them mike? by saying:

      “Tut tut, that is very naughty to get caught! You might remind people of how i mislead the public over MY conflict of interest with my Tranzrail shares…”

  9. The difference between how Key has dealt with this relatively minor matter, and how Clark not just ignored but even defended Winston over his massive breaches of the Cabinet Manual show very clearly how things have changed.

    • And in the end who was it that got stung by the electoral commission, David?

    • ak 9.2

      Ahhh……David Farrar with his trademark massive breaches and key-shaped codpiece…..couture de cretin for the mass market.

      How very last year. Please leave the runway David.

    • BLiP 9.3

      Did your buddy Dr Dick plead innocence? No. He knows he’s fucked up.

      When Peters pleaded innocence, Helen Clark allowed due process. That you think this is some sort of black mark against her shows your misogyny, ignorance and/or willingness to assist in the Textor/Crosby rewrite of history.

      Back to the sewer for you!

      • David Farrar 9.3.1

        due process found Peters in breach of the Register of Interests and ipso facto the Cabinet Manual. Clark and Goff still backed Peters 100% when it was obvious to anyone not retarded that Peters knew about the Glenn donation all along, and had lied for months on end.

        • r0b 9.3.1.1

          Due process also found that ACT breached the electoral finance rules. Key and English still back Hide 100%.

          when it was obvious to anyone not retarded

          Back to the sewer for you!

        • Pascal's bookie 9.3.1.2

          Morning David. Have you fixed that abortion of a post where you claim (repeatedly in comments) that Goff was a liar for saying that if Worth was Labour party Minister he’d have been gone? You left out the Labour bit didn’t you david? Easily done seeing it was in the first para of the story you linked to. What’s that para called again, oh yeah , the lede.

          Hack.

        • BLiP 9.3.1.3

          Perhaps in your bully-boy world the presumption of innocence carries no weight. Happily this is not the case in the real world.

          Fuck off back to your sewer.

  10. the sprout 10

    and now it’s revealed Tim Grocer is implicated too.
    very professional.
    very competent.
    very honest.
    maybe they thought if it was good enough for John Key and Tranzrail it’s good enough for them too?

  11. Felix 11

    A few people here (mike, Johnty, DPF) have mentioned how it’s been “dealt with” by Key already.

    Could someone please tell me how? What has he done about it?

  12. justthefacts 12

    What he has done about it is none of your business Felix.

    Kiwi’s are telling Mr Key that they just want the new Government to move on.

    Does that sound familiar?

    • the sprout 12.1

      absolutely ROTFL hilarious.

      one minute it’s Brave Warrior Key for ‘dealing so swiftly and decisively to these corrupt ministers of his!’

      the next minute it’s ‘mind your own business, he has dealt to them but we’re keeping it a secret from the public because it’s so brave and transparent’.

      you guys could at least learn to coordinate your lies. at the moment you’re efforts are plain pathetic. hardly any wonder the wheels are falling off the
      NACT Government by PR.

      but seriously guys, keep it up. help make this an historic one term National Government.

  13. RedLogix 13

    Mr Key has been fortunate that this was such an straight-forward, open and closed case of a blatant conflict of interest, that he had the great luxury of being able to act quickly and decisively to limit the damage.

    All the same, Richard Worth has been in politics for many, many years. If with all this experience his judgement on such basic matters of public probity is still so very poor, the man is ipso facto… a liability.

    Mr Key should act to remove him from office ASAP.

    • the sprout 13.1

      And Mr Groser, what should be done with him RL – a person with much less time in government but whose reputation as Minister of Trade is crucial to our export economy?

      What would a Minister of Trade that carries a whiff of corruption do to our export chances and what should be done about it?

  14. bobo 14

    What size aircraft does Richard Worths company train pilots for? are we talking small Cessna’s or commercial passenger jets? Sounds like a security risk in light of sep 11th where students had no background checks.

    But its typical National acting in their first term as if they are a 4th term government… Key bollocking Worth is a joke when Key was less than forthcoming on the amount of rail shares he had before the election and Worth stepping down as a director of a company only to pick up the job after being a minister hardly makes any difference with holding shares, silent trusts and the like.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    This was not just a “private trip”. It’s clear the Indians were led to believe they were doing business with a Minister, not a company director:

    Punjab Newsline, 27 Feb 2009:

    In a formal ceremony held here today, representatives of Punjab and New Zealand signed two MoUs [Memorandum of Understanding] in the august presence of Deputy Chief Minister S. Sukhbir Singh Badal and New Zealand delegation led by their Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Worth OBE.

    The New Zealand Minister said that the New Zealand was ideal place for aviation training as rapidly changing weather in New Zealand gives exposure to pilot to tackle change of weather.

    In the second MoU entered between Southern Institute of Technology Aviation Limited (SIT AV) of New Zealand and Patiala Aviation Club (PAC) agreed to cooperate the process of advanced pilot training Invercargill to enable pilots/students who have appropriate pilot qualification in India and to further train toward enhancing these skills in multiengine and helicopter training including aeronautical and aircraft maintenance engineering.

    • r0b 15.1

      Interesting – good find.

      • RedLogix 15.1.1

        Cripes, so Key is saying that the trip was undertaken in Worth’s capacity as a ‘private individual’, and yet the Indian media reports the exact opposite?

        Someone hasn’t been telling the whole truth to someone.

        • Pascal's bookie 15.1.1.1

          Very much looks like it.

          No doubt Key will be on the blower to the CEO of the Indian publisher; get him to print a ‘clarification’; to correct any ‘misunderstandings’. He was probably talking about the Australian Invercargill, or the reporter was a kid who was obviously just useless at his/her job or something like that.

          It’s a shame the knighthoods haven’t kicked in yet. the OBE carries only so much weight, and Worth seems to find such baubles useful, what.

    • BLiP 15.2

      Ahhh – the smoking gun. Top marks, Gobsie!

      • ak 15.2.1

        “Yup. Sounds like a ruckus kickin’ up over to Richworth Canyon, Tonto. Dang sodbuster injun-trader’s one of ours – best saddle up ole silver and we mosey yonder”

        “But what are you meaning by saying “we” sahib Key? Your own punkawallah has been telling the big fat fibs, isn’t it?”

        • BLiP 15.2.1.1

          “Don’t you be gettin awl sissy on me, Tonto. Nowz notta time ta be shrinkin’ back from our rezpozibilities an, all. No, siree, nowza time ta be reprimanding. Git the feathers ready, son.”

  16. gingercrush 16

    Hmm ooh a scandal within National. The left getting themselves all knotted. It has the potential to become a problem if Labour are able to do something about it in question time. It will be interesting to see how Key answers those questions and I think its the first thing Labour and other opposition parties have that they can potentially use against National. But I don’t think much will come of this and soon will be well forgotten. Hell I forgot Richard Worth was even a minister.

    The media of course plays a role. I don’t know how TV 3 covered this but Guyon had an excellent piece on it. If you’re right leaning you probably thought he was bias to the left (as many on the right already believe). I presume the left were happy with the report? National Radio will cover this thing in the morning. They already covered it on Checkpoint. Then of course there is question time. And likely both TV news will cover it again on their bulletins. I presume Labour and other opposition will continue to try and get questions in on this. Its not a great thing National has done. But I think Key has acted swiftly. As the report on checkpoint says, he has reprimanded Worth. Labour will make more of it. But its certainly not going to be something that is very damaging.

    We like to believe these issues have such importance for the public. But the fact over three terms Labour had such issues with their cabinet ministers and it still didn’t hurt them too much. Winston of course excepted, shows that while political damage. They tend not to be things that change voters minds.

    • Pascal's bookie 16.1

      ooh so Key’s reprimanded Worth has he? Sounds serious. Oh no that’s not right. Doesn’t sound serious at all. Sounds like a bs talking point to get through the day’s coverage. What does this reprimand involve exactly?

      I seem to recall, and please, correct an old hippie if he’s wrong, that Grandmaster Key and his Oppo’ Research Massive were quite distraught about Cabinet probity just a few short months ago.

      They made quite the fuss in fact about the idea that Ministers should live up to the highest, the highest I heard them say, ethical standards. That was what they demanded, and that what was they promised. “The highest ethical standards” was what NZers deserved, but were not getting from the former government. There were promises made ginger. Promises I tell you.

      So don’t you be talking to me about ‘reprimands’ and blowing over and it’ll all be forgotten. Promises. Highest ethical standards. Not higher. Highest. Is that what we’ve seen here? Or is it all back to ‘Labour did it to’, and ‘forget what we promised for it were all just lies’.

      No doubt burt is all over this everywhere he isn’t banned. He was very sure about the highest standards. It’s in the Cabinet Manual. Worth needs to be sacked, or he needs to explain how that Indian newspaper got it so wrong. Of course , that’s assuming National’s word is worth something. National can just admit that all their talk was just the faux outrage and c/t bs we said we it was of course. I can live with that. It’s where the defenders on this thread seem to be at.

      • gingercrush 16.1.1

        Reprimand is actually serious in political terms. And I don’t have a clue what is with your obsession on the highest standards. I could well go through all the statements Helen Clark made in 1999 when she herself would have talked about highest standards. Of course her standards got so low that she kept Peters around till the end. I agree National has fucked up. That is how the media is portraying it too. But don’t put on glasses and be so absurd in your thinking. Especially when you’re so in love with Obama that you wouldn’t have the gall to tell one of his people to resign. He sure offered hope now didn’t he. So where is it?

        • Pascal's bookie 16.1.1.1

          So it’s Labour did it too then, (as predicted in my last two para’s) and some weird shit about Obama. Sad.

      • George Darroch 16.1.2

        If we remember back to the first few years of the Clark Government, Ministers were thrown out of cabinet on a regular basis for things of this magnitude.She ran a tight ship. Until she didn’t, and it came back to haunt her.

        If Key wants to pretend he’s better than the last lot, he’s going to have to at least equal them. This is how he starts out, and we can’t expect things to go uphill from here.

        • gingercrush 16.1.2.1

          This isn’t an incident where a minister needs be thrown out. You can apply your magical rose-tinted glasses and pretend you live in an ideal world.Or you can think in proper political terms. This is not a sackable offense. It will never be a sackable offense.

          Key already reprimanded him.That is enough. It shows that Key actually did take some action. You can decide and put on your partisan blinkers if you want.But this is the real world. And in the real world for any party this isn’t something you would sack a minister for.

          • gobsmacked 16.1.2.1.1

            Using a ministerial position for a private commercial agenda is the most basic sackable offence.

            Now the case is not yet proven – there should be due process – but it certainly looks bad, based on the reports in the Indian media.

          • Pascal's bookie 16.1.2.1.2

            You can apply your magical rose-tinted glasses and pretend you live in an ideal world.Or you can think in proper political terms. This is not a sackable offense. It will never be a sackable offense.

            Key already reprimanded him.That is enough

            Arrogant much? A reprimand is nothing. It’s a telling off without consequence, done to make it look like something has been done.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Unfortunately for Richard Worth, India has plenty of English language media online. Here’s another link (and try to ignore the confused population numbers!):

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/new-zealand-committed-to-help-farmers-of-punjab/429193/

    Note the direct quote from the Minister, doing a blatant sales pitch for his business.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.2

      Oh dear.

      “My personal commitment to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is that New Zealand will be committed to improve efficiency and productivity of the farmers in the state by providing them technology transfer in agriculture, horticulture and dairy sector,’ said Dr Richard Worth, Minister of Crown, New Zealand.

      “Our visa rate is 88 per cent. This will also improve in the coming days with more student and visitor visas. We will be making it easy to get visitor visa as the rules will be relaxed and same will be done for business visas to attract more investment, especially in infrastructure, construction, telecom, energy and tourism.’ he said.

      “For students who want to study in New Zealand, the Civil Aviation sector has a lot of scope. One can get a Commercial Pilot Licence in our country in only eight months at the cost of 70,000 New Zealand Dollars, around Rs 18 lakh, from Southern Institute of Technology Civil Aviation Limited,’ he added.

      emph. mine.

      But he was on the tele’ just before saying there was no conflict of interest. Colour me confused, cause it sho nuff don’t look pretty.

      Someone will be along presently no doubt, to explain. I’ll have to wait for the a.m. though. night all.

      • Quoth the Raven 17.2.1

        I like it how he uses the school attached to the company he’s a director at as an example and even mentions the price.

      • Felix 17.2.2

        That’s outrageous. Those cleverly worded stories from the liberal media make it look as if Richard Worth, (Minister of Crown, NZ) was using his official position (and MY tax dollars) to advance his own company.

  18. Irascible 18

    Amazing that the Tory bloggers can get so righteous about word processor interviews containing “allegations” about “corruption” under Labour then become protective and supportive of their own immediately Worth & Co prove that they are no virgins themselves when it comes to corruption. Key should demand his “ministers'” resignations and not just bus ticket slap them. Labour needs to hammer,hammer the offenders at every opportunity in the House and in all media. It is obvious that probity is not a word in the National government’s lexicon despite the Crosby-Textor campaigning.

  19. SHG 19

    Where’s the “Worth’s story unravels” article gone?

    [lprent: There now. It was probably pulled back for an edit.]

  20. spot 20

    Will key feel the pressure to offer up a scalp, probably, will he, I suspect not. But if needs must then hardly a talent loss.

    Be interesting to see if Lab feel they can go hard at this one, it being largely “outside” of matters policy, abut “inside” claims to fresh approach and credibility.

    I think King, or the like, should go them and see where it ends up.

    At the end of the day – Worth is, was, and always has been veeeeeery backbench material. Maybe time for him to work on another Phd.

    Keep an eye out for the “creating jobs for NZers in this recession” line that will probably get trotted out as part mitgation for Worth’s actions.

  21. gingercrush 21

    That’s fine and all PB. In an ideal world we should all think like that. But the idea that we who reply at blogs and bloggers themselves are somehow above things is blatantly absurd. How many times do right wing bloggers and those who identify right-wing accuse Labour of being corrupt and basically lying. Then how many times does the left themselves do that but this time against the right and National. So either we’re all hypocrites and very partisan or we aren’t. And of course the idea that a reprimand by itself is nothing.But it does actually mean something in political terms.

    —-

    And as for your point about National and them applying the highest standards. I don’t remember National saying that and I never expected it either. Labour will provide the questioning and will certainly test the government. And if you’re a voter of the left persuasion. This is the first time you actually have something to nail the government with. But when Goff goes on National Radio as he did five minutes ago and act all above everything. That will never work. Especially not when Sean Plunket smacks him down.

    • Pascal's bookie 21.1

      It’s not about me or bloggers ginger. It’s about Key. I’m glad you seem to agree that all his talk about how his government would be one of probity was all just a bunch of lies. Just like people on the left were saying. Were you saying so then? It seems that the only one claiming to be above it all is you mate. As always, you just seem focussed on the day’s horserace.

      A reprimand is as weak as it gets. What are the consequences?

      • gingercrush 21.1.1

        I’m not above anything and I don’t know why you make such a claim. What are the consequences? He fucks up again and he’s out. Simple as that. Of course Helen Clark wouldn’t even give Peters that till it was too late. That is why if you reprimand someone straight away. It actually works politically. If anything its you that exists on a holier than thou attitude.

  22. Observer 22

    Tane
    you talk some utter garbage at times! Like ” Richard Worth’s private business dealings in India while he was acting as a Minister of the Crown”. He was acting as chairman of a trade association and used NO public funds.

    An Indian newspaper did its homework, realised he was a Minister back in New Zealand, and used his highest title (Minister) in reporting on his visit. In India this is called being polite. By taking its words in a KIWI context, instead of an Indian one, much mischief has been achieved.

    How sad that this is the bast that can be achieved by the Centre Left as it looks for major discombooberations to latch the public’s attention to!

    • BLiP 22.1

      The fact that Worth was described as “Minister” is the Indian’s being polite!! Good grief, what a shining example of colonial patronising bollocks – “the poor golly wogs got it wrong because they were trying to be nice” – your attitude is so last century as to be insulting.

      Face it – Worth has been caught out seeking to benefit financially from his elected position, plus he’s been caught out lying to the Prime Minister.

      How sad the right seek to defend Worth and his type.

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