Yet another twist in the Worthless saga. It turns out that he used his diplomatic passport on the trip to India – which was a ‘private’ trip. John Key in his usual spineless way has issued another limp ‘warning”. It appears that even Worth does not believe the warning.
Colin Espiner says
Worth admitted in Parliament on Wednesday that he had used his ministerial diplomatic passport when travelling to India on private business with two other MPs in February.
Worth said he had used the passport, which confers special status on ministers and allows them to avoid lengthy airport queues, in accordance with the Cabinet Manual.
But Labour MP Trevor Mallard today distributed copies of the Ministerial Office Handbook – the rules ministers are expected to adhere to – which clearly states that all private travel must be undertaken on ordinary, private passports.
You aren’t allowed to play around with diplomatic status for private reasons for exactly the reasons that Richard Worth is now being pilloried. It gives your host country the impression that your trip may have some official sanction.
This is apparent to anyone with a grain of common sense, but not apparently to a new Minister of the Crown who apparently hasn’t read the handbook – which I find hard to believe. To me it appears that he lied to parliament. I’m annoyed by someone masquerading as my representative to do their private business. It reeks of a attitude of contempt for the responsibilities of office.
I’d suggest that someone puts him in front of the privileges committee to find out what in the hell else he has been doing. Otherwise it appears that the truth will not be made public. John Key appears to have issues with controlling his ministers and expecting them to conform to a standard of behavior. He has apparently said….
Key has said Worth is effectively on his final warning, although Worth has said he does not believe this to be the case.
Under Helen Clark, almost any offense from being over the limit while driving to having an assertion of mis-accounting of donations was sufficient to cause a minister to lose their portfolios. However it appears that John Key has a far more tolerant approach to a far more serious assertion of a minister abusing the privileges of their ministerial role for private gain.
What kind of Government does Mr Key want to operate? One where rules set out to ministers are clearly adhered to? Or one akin to a banana republic where rules are flouted for political expediency?
So what will you do Prime Minister? Do nothing and stand by a minister who with one business trip has breached guidelines around ministerial travel, conflicts of interest and use of diplomatic passports?
Or are you going to do what you should have done two weeks ago and relieve Richard Worth of his ministerial portfolios?
Indeed! It appears that John Key has far lower standards of expected behaviour from his ministers than Helen ever did.