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Has John Key misled Parliament?

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, June 16th, 2009 - 49 comments
Categories: john key, Parliament, richard worth - Tags:

On the day Richard Worth was forced to resign as a Minister, Key explicitly told Parliament the criminal investigation into Worth was the reason why he couldn’t say what had caused him to lose confidence.

Hon Phil Goff: Why did the Prime Minister attempt to keep the reasons for the resignation secret this morning?

Hon JOHN KEY: The police are going to conduct a preliminary investigation, as they noted in a press release they issued. I think any New Zealander is entitled to a fair investigation. I do not think it would be appropriate for me to contaminate that investigation by making loose comments.

Hon Phil Goff: What is the nature of the police complaint again Dr Worth?

Hon JOHN KEY: I am not at liberty to say.

As ‘gobsmacked’ points out in the comments, Opposition MPs did not pursue the issue because when the PM says he cannot comment because of an ongoing police investigation, MPs must accept his word.

But under pressure from the gallery at yesterday’s press conference Key stated that the reason for his silence was ‘nothing of a legal nature’.

The two stories don’t seem to add up. It would appear that Key has either lied directly to the entire press gallery or he’s deliberately misled Parliament. Both are very serious matters and give rise to plenty more questions.

49 comments on “Has John Key misled Parliament? ”

  1. dave 1

    I agree 100% )( and can you take me off moderation)

  2. toad 2

    The first question of the “plenty more” will be asked this afternoon:

    12. Hon PETE HODGSON to the Prime Minister: Why did he lose confidence in Dr Richard Worth as a Minister?

  3. Liam 3

    Has John Key misled Parliament?’


  4. randal 4

    it doesnt matter if he has or not.
    whatever he says then someone like richard griffin or the idiot who writes the leaders for the dompost on tuesdays will excuse him with a blizzard of blather.

  5. Ianmac 5

    ” There is no reason for me as an honest fair PM to provide any answer to your question, because Mr Worth is a private citizen.”

  6. burt 6

    So what is the process when an MP misleads parliament – what should be done about it in an ideal world where MP’s are accountable?

  7. Bill 7

    Nothing of a legal nature = something of an illegal nature perhaps? = press gallery misconstruing his comment? = honest but slippery? in the same vein as his “fair but reasonable”? comment in yesterday’s press conference?

    What does wee john ever mean? So many questions. So much bullsh*t. But that was another post wannit?

  8. Ianmac 8

    Just heard 3pm in Question time PM: ” I will not comment further because Mr Worth is no longer an MP” (Paraphrased)

    Who decides the order of questions for Question Time? Why was such an important question left till last by which time Labour had run out of Supplementary questions?

    • lukas 8.1

      The opposition decide when they ask what question… its their own fault for running out of sups.

  9. I think that Labour didn’t want Goff to be posing the question, because that would have brought in all the mess that we’ve heard about over the past couple of weeks. Hodgson did a good job saying it – but yes Labour should have had it further up the list.

  10. Pat 10

    I’m not exactly sure why Key won’t say anymore about it. I suspect the truth is that when Goff made his complaint on May 6, and Worth his denial, that Key gave Worth a last warning (given that married-man-Worth was trying to root a Labour party member).

    When the subsequent story came out that married-man-Worth had previously rooted Korean businesswoman, Key gave him the chop.

    So to me it seems Keys measure for Ministers is:
    a) don’t lie to me
    b) don’t behave inappropriately, such as rooting other women when you are married.

    I think Key is getting criticized for seeking a level of behaviour that previous ministers, and some PMs, would have failed.

    • gobsmacked 10.1

      Pat, if your theory is correct, what prevents Key from saying so?

      Could it be that he doesn’t want to have to seek this level of behaviour in future? And why not?

      He wants to be seen to set a standard. He just doesn’t want to have to insist on it. Because some Ministers are more valuable than others.

      In other words, it’s the same old politics, but with a high-minded moral spin. A spin which falls apart if the truth comes out.

      • Ron 10.1.1

        “if your theory is correct, what prevents Key from saying so?”
        Because I don’t think the PM can say “root” in public…..

    • burt 10.2


      don’t behave inappropriately, such as rooting other women when you are married.

      As far as we know Worth’s wife is still standing by him – surely it is between him and his wife to decide what is appropriate in their marriage – not the PM and certainly not us.

      • Pascal's bookie 10.2.1

        Nope, new rules burt.

        It’s up to John key and he doesn’t have to tell you nothing about it either. But as long as he doesn’t blather about in the name of due process, what are you crying for?

        ACT seem happy to serve under such a system too.

        • Pat

          Perhaps Key has never slept around on his wife, and he expects Ministers to abide by this yardstick. Might seem moralistic to some people, so Key doesn’t want to make it a public issue about his morals.

          Just hypothesising.

          • burt

            So if a PM who believes in no sex before marriage makes it to parliemant would that standard be acceptable for sacking MP’s ?

        • burt


          I’m not saying he didn’t do anything wrong and it is good the police are looking into it. However I don’t believe adultery is still considered to be a crime in NZ do you? Do you happen to know Key thinks it is a very bad thing?

          I think you are gutted because key has shown a far higher standard of accountability and integrity plus he has demanded a higher standard of conduct from his MP’s than Clark. Get over it we all know Clark put the best interests of the Labour party ahead of accountability and ethical standards and the best interests of parliament it’s a good thing for parliament that Key has lifted the bar off the ground where Clark left it.

          Has Key got it in the right place yet? possibly not, but at least he’s not covering Worth’s ass for months and months with a toothless inquiry.

          • Pascal's bookie

            nah, he’s covering his own, and National’s, arse by keeping whatever Worth did secret.

            We simply don’t know what standard he is demanding burt. All we know is that there are some things bad enough to get sacked for. Maybe he sacked Worth because he wouldn’t suck Key off? Who knows, no one’s saying. In the interests of the Party.

            (and yes, this deliberatly not what I think, and stupid etc, but it would still be justified under Key’s ‘trust me’ rules)

            We know that the India trip was ok though.

    • Would that be the same John Key who while married thought it was absolutely OK to take, presumably, married bankers he did business with to strip clubs?

      Yuk, the man has no integrity.

  11. jarbury 11

    Why doesn’t he just say that then Pat?

  12. Fergie 12

    Hey does Mr Worth get to give a valedictory speech ?
    Seems almost sad after 9 years with his nose in the public trough that he can’t at least tell us what he has ‘achieved’ and what he has ‘contributed’ to New Zealand society !

    • burt 12.1


      He could stand up and say the allegations are baseless and that the opposition is scurrilous and that there is not one shred of evidence linking him to any criminal behaviour. He could then go on to blame the media and claim that everyone else is barking mad and he is innocent.

      (perhaps he should check if his fly is done up before he stands up to deliver his speech wouldn’t want his credibility taking a hit would he)

  13. Pat 13

    I don’t know. Does he prejudice Worth’s case if he knows Worth bedded the woman? Maybe Key directly asked Worth something like “Did you sleep with her” and Worth confirmed it. If Key shuts up he keeps out of the coming case.

    • Pascal's bookie 13.1

      He said it’s unrelated to that case, but came up during discussions.

  14. Zaphod Beeblebrox 14

    I suspect Key doesn’t want to set a precedent. In the end we will all know but I don’t see why it is that important. If he doesn’t trust him anymore why should he have to put up with him.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      Because he was an MP.

      Look I’m glad he’s gone, but Key has set a precedent.

      MP gone, PM not explaining why.

      First he came for Dicky Worth, but Dicky Worth was a fuckwit so I didn’t say anything…

      • gobsmacked 14.1.1

        There are many reasons to care, ZB.

        One is that a Minister might do something wrong, and agree to go quietly and not embarrass the government any further.

        It is not in the interests of the (ex) Minister to say “Here’s what I did.” So it remains secret.

        There’s a library full of history books to show us why “Hey, trust me!” is not a line the public should accept in any democracy.

        This is NOT about Richard Worth.

  15. Pat 15

    Neelam Choudry asked Key to keep details quiet, and he has. Possibly the same has happened in Worth’s case.

    Rightly or wrongly, Key may have made a decision not to fan the flames of tawdry tabloid fodder, lest he set a precedent that sends us down the path of making it the norm for the press to try and catch politicians with their pants down.

    Otherwise we may as well all blog in about who we saw out with who etc. and salivate over juicy headlines and photos in our Sunday papers.

  16. sally 16

    “Neelam Choudry asked Key to keep details quiet, and he has. Possibly the same has happened in Worth’s case.”

    Worth was an MP, Choudry wasn’t. Subtle difference Pat.

    The longer John Key holds out, the longer this story stays in the news cycle, and the longer Key has to deal with questions.

    It’s Taito all over again, except I imagine Helen Clark has learnt from her mistakes.

    • burt 16.1

      It’s Taito Field all over again… Beautiful…

      Once we are through the toothless inquiry, statements about only guilty of helping people and the corruption charges have been laid years later – I’ll agree with you.

      Meanwhile – your reality cheque just bounced.

  17. Pat 17

    In hindsight, how illuminating were Worth’s words:

    “Mr Speaker, my erection…”

    I’ll finish the sentence for him:

    “…is gonna ruin my career!”

  18. Daveski 18

    You’d don’t think his career suffered from premature ejection from parliament?

    • Ianmac 18.1

      Thats funny Daveski -esp from you! Ta

      • Daveski 18.1.1

        Cheers lanmac

        Don’t tell PB tho he’ll take my extreme baby-eating wingnut label away from me.

        I’m sure all the comics in NZ view Worth they way the US comedians viewed Clinton … just no cigar (we’re smoke free and nuke free)

  19. GC Martin 19

    Wasn’t that a cracker from ‘burt’ — the reality cheque that bounced !

    Interesting comment to this post revolved around what is okay, per the PM, and what aint. No say, being a firmly held pov.

    Today, and clarifying several things in the ‘no say’ department, here we heard tell of one Frank Lucas (R-Okla) who had been on The Hill with his fears and fumblings – (aka rumblings per the shonkey backroom campaigners).

    Unknown to him – and the others, but now available to you folks – was a report put out by the Brookings Institute in four parts – readable onsite which Americans would take note of. And for more reasons than it being simply american researchers (recall the offhanded treatment they gave to Stern’s effort).

    The point about recession and more particularly one caused by a credit crisis is that solutions have to be credible. Which means problems answered and dealt to.

    As you know sackings leave too much unanswered for credible solutions to prevail. Which has me ask here and now whether the foregoing political actions have come to sustain the unsustainable.

    Pattern designed and set, as it were.

  20. Craig Glen Eden 20

    Credit where credits due Daveski that was quite funny.

  21. Mark M 21

    Why are you people so concerned at the reason Key sacked a minister and forced him out of parliament.
    You didnt seem to be concerned why Clarke didnt sack Benson Pope for so long or why she didnt sack Peters.
    One committed fraud and one assault.

    Key is at fault for acting promptly?
    Clarke gets a plum UN job for turning a blind eye.
    Strange world you people live in

    • Ianmac 21.1

      Wot a strange person you are Mark M. Do you believe that there are fairies at the bottom of your garden?

    • MikeG 21.2

      You have unintentionally shown exactly why people are concerned Mark M – we know what Peters and Benson-Pope were accused of, but with Worth we don’t.

      If it was just the Police investigation then you could justifiably argue that Worth should be suspended until the result of the court case (if one does eventuate) is known. However, Key has said that it was something else that caused him to lose confidence in his Minister. What was it? Richard Worth was a Minister, John Key is PM – they are/were both in PUBLIC positions, and therefore are accountable to the public.

      Take another example – Ruth Dyson. She was stood down immediately – everybody knew the reason, and understood the action the PM took. It enabled everyone to move on.

    • burt 21.3

      Mark M

      You have nailed it Mark.

      I think the root problem here is that Key has acted so differently to Clark. Clark was right and therefore Key must be wrong.

      You would think the Mt Albert by-election result would shake a few heads and perhaps people would stop defending the indefensible. There is no need to anymore, Shearer has shown Labour have better support without Clark and her tarnish.

      Astounding, people are fighting to remind us why Clark was less popular in her own electorate than a fresh face.

      • MikeG 21.3.1

        I don’t really agree Burt – this is the first time in all my years of watching politics (remember Rob Muldoon travelling the country with his flip-charts?!) that I can recall a Minister being sacked with no proper reason being given. (outside of a cabinet re-shuffle)

        Why doesn’t Key want to tell us?

        • Galeandra

          Why doesn’t Key want to tell us?

          Good question. The ironic effect seems to have been to further cement his Mr Say-Nothing-Much-and Don’t Scare-the- Horses persona – ” Mr Worth’s done something, the police are involved, I can’t comment… but really, it’s actually that I’ve lost confidence in him. I won’t tell you why…”
          The PM’s looking very boring and a lot of the people I spend my day with think he’s a bit of a nonentity. As above comments show,Helen Clarke annoyed a lot of people, but none of them were in much doubt about where she stood & why.
          This whole thread’s a bit pointless, really. Let’s discuss spending cuts rather than cabinet cropping.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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