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:
“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”
“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.”
“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”