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Questionable

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, June 13th, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: corruption, john key, richard worth - Tags:

I was shocked, shocked, when I pulled up Kiwiblog just now and there wasn’t a long post of quotes by political commentators on how St John had slain the evil Worth interspersed with ‘indeed’. Instead, there was a long post of quotes from the Herald on juries interspersed with ‘indeed’. I quickly discovered why.

Worth’s resignation has not made the questions about Key’s handling of his minister go away and everyone apart from that hack John Armstrong and Tracey ‘I love John’ Watkins is raising them:

Audrey Young:

“Key is the one who said Worth was not fit to serve as one of his ministers. Until now he has not said why…
…among the claims and counter-claims about the conversation between Key and Goff on the May 6 allegation, the one thing that rings true was Key saying (according to Goff’s notes) that Worth did not get the job of Speaker because there had been rumours about him.
I have heard that myself from National sources”

Fran O’Sullivan:

“The Prime Minister has ducked his responsibilities in the Richard Worth affair by failing to convene an independent inquiry to probe very serious allegations against a former Government minister.
Yesterday’s resignation by Worth from his position as a National MP does not change this central issue….
…Key should not be allowed to get away with ducking his own basic democratic responsibility to ensure a “favours for jobs” allegation that casts doubt on the integrity of his Government is tested…
…instead of mandating an independent QC or former judge to investigate these serious allegations (and furnish them with powers to seek previous text messages from the mobile phone providers to both Choudary and Worth), Key shamelessly used bully-boy tactics to drive the National MP out of his party’s caucus.
Key clearly has a low opinion of Worth. The former minister proved an embarrassment by failing to disentangle himself from business interests that cut across his official duties.
The Prime Minister had clearly run out of patience with the hapless Worth months ago. So, when potential criminal allegations surfaced involving the MP and the Korean businesswoman, he was quick to force him out of his ministerial post. With a police investigation pending, that is where it should have rested.
But instead of handling the issue in a professional fashion, the Prime Minister fuelled speculation by allowing innuendo – rather than the facts – to predominate…
Key probably fears he could end up with egg on his own face if an inquiry either found no evidence to back Goff’s allegations against his former minister and MP, or that they stacked up.
If so, that is his own fault, as he has fuelled the Worth affair with his injudicious comments.”

Brent Edwards:

“I certainly think that Mr Key will hope that this draws a line under the affair with Dr Worth having resigned both as a minister and now as an MP. But there is one unanswered question that really becomes even greater in focus now that Dr Worth has resigned as an MP. And that is ‘why did Mr Key lose confidence in him? What is the issue?’.
He wouldn’t tell us but someone cannot resign as a minister, cannot have a public statement from the Prime Minister that he would have sacked that person had they not resigned and then resign as an MP  without those questions being answered. So, Mr Key may hope this ends the matter but I don’t think it will”

Indeed.

20 comments on “Questionable”

  1. Rich 1

    I think Key (possibly as a result of his City background) has taken a more aggressive approach to firing ministers than Clark did, thus far.

    There are two problems with this:
    – he’s only got a limited talent pool to pick fresh ministers from. I don’t see Ms Lee getting a cabinet job anytime soon, for instance.
    – any minister who comes under any sort of cloud is going to be hounded by the media and opposition in the hope of a fresh scalp.

  2. Fran O’Sullivan’s commentary in the Herald today reads like a warning shot from Auckland’s National Party elite across the government’s bows. I sense that there is serious unease amongst Auckland’s great and the good about the government’s performance. One gets the idea that John Armstrong is hearing the same as he exhorts the government to move on from Worth.

  3. Red Rosa 3

    Indeed, indeed. Curiouser and curiouser…..

    When Pontius Pilate ‘washed his hands’ of Jesus of Nazareth, he sidestepped responsibility for the execution that followed. An innocent man was not given due process under Roman law, but effectively lynched by the mob.

    Worth has gone down protesting innocence, and has yet to have his day in court.

    There must be some theological point I am missing. Or will Sunday bring thunder from the pulpits? And all those churchgoers rallying round Worth?

    There must be a Christian out there who can enlighten me.

  4. Anita 4

    This post must have become The Standard’s standard for postmodern deconstructive mockery, it’s awesome! 🙂

  5. Ianmac 5

    Well done Eddie in connecting those pieces. The pro Govt teams are going strongly in anti Goff/Choudry/Labour as though they are the cause and the ones to blame. I think that the real issues are the ones which Eddie points out. I have always been more interested in Key’s actions than that of all the others. (Tranzrail eyes, my son bought this tie, Maori TV interview on how to say 5,000 words without answering questions, Supercity plan support, Lee choice and so on.)
    Can Questions in the House still be directed at Key or can he just say “Mr Worth is no longer an MP in My Government so your question Mr Goff is meaningless.”

  6. Dan 6

    The Auckland Nacts must be very worried about the damage Rodney is doing to their futures. I am sure they want Worth out of the way so they can concentrate on getting Rodney and Roger into line on the Supercity nonsense.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    MARTIN KAY – The Dominion Post

    He also rounded on Labour Party activist Neelam Choudary, who claims she was sexually harassed by Dr Worth in 100 phone calls and texts over three months.

    Neither woman returned calls last night.

    MARTIN KAY – The Dominion Post

    Sheesh. Interviews Worth’s press release and then mentions that some journalism was attempted in trying to contact the women. Fails to note that Worth’s statement doesn’t actually deny much, if anything, of what Choudary alleges. No mention of whether Worth was contacted.

    SkLz.

  8. Richard 8

    Taito Philip Field is currently in court facing charges of corruption, namely using his public position to grant favours (residency visas) in exchange for money – in this case free labour.
    Richard Worth has been accused of using his public position to offer favours (employment) in exchange for “personal services”. Why is he not being investigated by police on these corruption charges. John Key wishes for us all to move on, but corrruption in our political system is serious. We as a country are lucky that corruption is not believed to be widespread. All the more reason that such allegations be put under police scrutiny.
    Sorry John, just as Helen Clark would have dearly loved to move on from the Philip Field case at least a couple of years ago, Richard Worth might be a name remembered for all the wrong reasons for some time to come.

    • Anita 8.1

      1) I think that Field didn’t have the power to grant residency visas, but he did have the power to influence the people who did. The charges are under s103 of the Crimes Act (corruption and bribery of an MP) not s102 (of a Minister of the Crown). Semantic I know, but it never hurts to be careful 🙂

      2) WRT why Worth isn’t being charged with the same crimes as Field, I think the issue is probably the definition of “bribe” in s99 of the Crimes Act:

      bribe means any money, valuable consideration, office, or employment, or any benefit, whether direct or indirect

      It’s not immediately clear that sex is catered for in the definition. I have optimism someone more knowledgeable than me has case law and interpretation to help 🙂

      I also think that if Worth were to be charged it would be under s102 (corruption and bribery of a Minister of the Crown) because the actions he said he would take were within his Ministerial powers.

      • Rex Widerstrom 8.1.1

        Well my strictly non-legal opinion is that sex with Worth would be of no benefit whatsoever, but may well have provided employment for a number of “seamstresses”* in the past.

        * ref: Terry Pratchett

    • burt 8.2

      Richard

      Sorry John, just as Helen Clark would have dearly loved to move on from the Philip Field case at least a couple of years ago, Richard Worth might be a name remembered for all the wrong reasons for some time to come.

      Key’s lingering nightmare will be at least 18 months shorter than Clark’s because Key never had Worth exonerated in a tootless inquiry and Key didn’t retain Worth’s vote for over a year while Worth was on garden leave.

      I asked the question last night on kiwiblog: What position will National take if the police say a case exists for Worth but they are not going to prosecute. (see here )

      I think you are right, it’s not all over yet.

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        Mostly I ignore your pointless comparisons, but you seem to think that mindless repetition will somehow give it a veracity that is unwarranted.

        1. The original enquiry into Field’s affairs was over a matter relating to the Cole house purchase. He was ultimately cleared over any conflict of interest in that matter, but the enquiry, far from being toothless uncovered other questions that were outside the originally intended scope. (Which is fair enough because enquiries are not intended as carte-blanche fishing expeditions.)

        2. Field was demoted from any Ministerial role immediately the allegations surfaced. Further investigations were initiated as soon as the need for them became apparent. Ultimately the Police determined enough evidence (and this took some time) to justify a prosecution that is even now underway in the Courts. Ultimately nothing was covered up.

        3. While this drawn-out process was underway Field was stood down from Parliament, exactly as was Worth. The main difference here was that the much more serious and immediate nature of the allegations against Worth meant that Key had the luxury of being in possesion of much clearer reasons act relatively expeditiously.

        4. Even if Worth had not resigned, and had remained an MP, the National govt would have been perfectly justified to continue using his vote…. as Labour used Field’s. Regardless of whether Worth or Field had resigned or not, MMP proportionality rules effectively ensure that a Party would not have lost their vote in the House.

        Every case of this sort of thing is unique in it’s own way. For this reason making these sort of comparisons is usually pointless at best.

        • burt 8.2.1.1

          RedLogix

          This is staggering;

          “Ultimately nothing was covered up. “

          Correct, it’s all coming out in the wash now. How quickly you skip over the reality that it was covered up for months and months by Clark.

          I know it must be very painful for you to acknowledge that your team acted so corruptly and self serving but really – trying to pretent that it’s of no consequence because the shit has stated to come out in the final analysis is only displaying how little integrity and principle you demand from your leaders.

  9. Rex Widerstrom 10

    Fran in particular makes an important point. And it is applicable well beyond Worth.

    For most of us, life as a private citizen is the best we can expect. We’re nonetheless required to obey the law and punished, quite severely in most cases, for breaching it.

    Yet when a Minister or MP has, prima facie, done something that’d result in anyone else ending up being treated to some copper’s BO and halitosis as he loomed over us in the interrogation room, it seems all an MP has to do is say “Whoops, not that I admit guilt you understand, but here’s my resignation” (or lose at the next election) and all is forgiven and forgotten.

    Field is, in fact, the rare exception. Dare I mention the name Winston Raymond Peters, unemployed of no fixed abode (I know the source, but it does induce a snigger every time I contemplate its accuracy), the receipt of certain monies, the alleged disbursement thereof, and all sorts of other issues that should rightly be the subject of a similar enquiry?

  10. vto 11

    Matthew Hooters in the NBR has an angle you would never see here.

    Good reading for some balance and interesting insight into the worth-choudary love nest.

    • Ianmac 11.1

      VTO: Found no sign of Mathew Hooters fingers at NBR though his angles are interesting but not often agreeable.

  11. dear Red Rosa
    good work on the name
    au revoir, I loved you all
    Follow the Zoran my good man

  12. Outofbed 13

    if one minister resigns for trying to screw one person
    you know the rest………..

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