John Key’s making a real hash of this latest Worth scandal. There was the secretive way he went about things yesterday, which is just not acceptable from a Prime Minister in New Zealand. He wasted several opportunities to correct his mistake and give full details during the day. Yet the story is still coming out. More serious in political terms though, is the way Key handled Worth when he knew that Worth had been doing something seriously bad.
– Why did it take over a week from losing confidence in Worth to Worth resigning? Why didn’t Key fire him immediately he lost confidence in him?
The answer Key gave today in the House ‘had to let him have natural justice’ makes no sense. You don’t lose confidence then carry out an investigation. Natural justice comes first, then losing confidence. Key must already have been sure last Tuesday. ‘Natural justice’ is an illogical excuse. The real reason is Key didn’t want the scandal to sour the Bleak Budget (as if that could get more sour). So he kept a man he says he would not have in his ministry in his ministry for another week for PR reasons.
– What investigation did Key undertake when he was told Worth had been sexually harassing women, known as ‘making a nuisance of himself towards women’ in Key-speak?
– Who did Key consult with during this investigation? Did he consider involving the Police? If not, why not?
– Did his investigation conclude that Worth had indeed sexually harassed women just that it was not serious? Because that’s what his words imply.
– Why, if that was the finding of his investigation, did he not consider this serious?
– Why didn’t he tell the public that one of his ministers had been sexually harassing women?
The answers to these questions will raise even more as the details come out.
The inadequacy of Key’s initial investigation. His shielding of Worth. Keeping mum when he knew that Worth was subject to an allegation for a serious offence. The fact that Key had lost confidence in his minister but kept him on. The hide and seek game he has played with the public over the facts. All are serious failings in a Prime Minister.
Questions will be asked. Again and again over the weeks to come. Key better have some good answers.