- Date published:
11:28 am, June 3rd, 2009 - 97 comments
Categories: john key, law and "order", national - Tags: corruption, resignation, secrets, worth
How titillating. Worth has resigned and he won’t say why. ‘Personal reasons’ eh? Heard that one before.
Key’s not talking either. He describes it as a ‘private reason’.
Got to wonder what’s in the Tories’ heads on this one.
Don’t keep a secret unless you really need to. Bad look. The public has a right to know why a minister is forced to leave their job. They won’t appreciate Key trying to hide the truth. Everyone knows that. Which means the Tories’ calculate that it’s less damaging to look secretive than have the secret out.
Thing is, secrets nearly always get out. The Tories know that too. Yet they still calculate that looking secretive and risking the secret being exposed anyway is better than being open and having the reason for the resignation definitely made public.
Can’t wait to find out what it is.
UPDATE: Now Key has said it’s to do with a ‘criminal matter’ but won’t elaborate. Someone tell Crosby/Textor their Stepford PM is malfunctioning. All he’s done is make it more titillating and made himself look more secretive.
The Police have just announced they are investigating an MP. Obviously Worth is the target and has done the crime. Key would have been careful to say he wasn’t the target if he wasn’t. There would be no need to resign if he wasn’t guilty.
Here’s my pick. I reckon Worth is being investigated for obstructing justice over his mysterious visit to the Sandhus after the son of his mate allegedly assaulted Jarnil Sandhu in April.
Another Minister mysteriously visited the Sandhus on the same day as Worth. Crusher. What was she doing there?
UPDATE : Key knew about this last week before Worth told him. Says now he would have fired Worth if he hadn’t resigned. Why didn’t he fire him last week as soon as he found out?
Goodness me, Zetitic. Did you make a new year’s resolution to get sued?
Can’t be sued if it’s true.
Yeah dropped the bribe suggestion though. Safety first.
Zetitic, it isn’t very sensible to make libellous allegations you can’t prove to be true at the time you make them. You can’t prove Worth is “guilty” until a court has said so, yet you have alleged he is. I realise you are excited by this, but you don’t want to expose yourself or the standard to libel, and in this post you have done exactly that.
[lprent: doesn’t look like it to me. Read current libel law related to politicians after the Lange case. ]
Zetitic, it isn’t very sensible to make libellous allegations you can’t prove to be true at the time you make them.
Why Tim, you make allegations, indeed statements of “fact”, that you can’t prove to be true all the time. Why the change of heart?
Go back to sleep r0b.
That’s as original as the rest of your lines Tim.
Labour are use to claiming their innocence (using validations as required) when it is expedient. No court cases were required to excuse their alleged law breaking. Therefore it is to be expected that no court cases are required to convict National party people. Remember – move on for Labour – hang em high for National.
[lprent: Describing yourself burt? That describes your attitude perfectly with the lynch mob last year. Just change the party names. ]
Please explain lprent. Are you still defending Winston ? If you are then a quote from The Highlander seems appropriate – You have already lost.
I’ve said it before. To date I haven’t seen ANYTHING that isn’t just lousy book-keeping. That was the result of the various inquiries, and why no charges were laid.
Therefore I class you and all similar right thinking clowns as being part of a simple-minded lynch mob. Looks like you are still simple…..
So being found by the privileges committee to have misled the house just lousy book-keeping?
It’s fine if you are going to say that the privileges committee outcome was nonsense, but do remember it is the highest court in the land and like any court we may not always agree with the outcome but we are bound by it.
In what sense is the privileges committee a court?
Good question – that is a clichÃ©. Various MP’s have called it the highest court in the land over time but Winston proved it can only administer slaps on the wrist with wet bus tickets.
However the privileges committee still found that Winston misled the house and right or wrong we can’t argue with the outcome of its decision. It has made a ruling.
Is your question relevant to my position that there is more than just lousy book-keeping issues as lprent stated?
As far as I’m concerned no charges were laid because the chance to lay charges had lapsed. Do you agree that it was not possible to lay charges and that charges may have been laid if the details had been investigated earlier?
Burt, to be fair, by LP’s definition, any example of fraud, non-disclosure of interests, non-payment of tax, donations, or circumvention of electoral laws, whether deliberate or accidental, are just examples of “lousy book-keeping”.
No. I just expect that the standard of proof would be what is required for the police and maybe a court. It is not what is required for burt, who appears to wish to hang people for suspicion.
If any of the above had happened, then I’d have expected that charges would have been laid and court dates set.
In practice, the only one that appears to have been an issue was lousy book-keeping on an electoral accounting, that wasn’t picked up early enough. If fraud (for instance) had been provable on that book-keeping, ie that it had been done deliberately, then the police would have charged.
The police lay charges pretty much whenever they think that they have a reasonable expectation that they can prove a charge. That is so the courts make the determination. If they’d thought that there was fraud then they could have investigated and laid charges regardless of what the electoral commissions time limits were. So there wasn’t enough
That never happened. So what we are left with is burt and other members of a self-appointed lynch mob feeling pious under a hanging tree, after they hung someone without any proof. Pretty sickening sight…
(damn didn’t go under reply.. At least I can amend it to context)
That was a partisan committee with a distressingly low standard of proof and judgment.
Split straight down party lines.
I give it no credence.
OK I get your point. The privileges committee didn’t come up with the outcome the Labour party wanted so therefore it was wrong.
So where you said; “To date I haven’t seen ANYTHING that isn’t just lousy book-keeping.”
What you are really saying is;
To date I don’t agree with ANYTHING other than just lousy book-keeping.
This position of selectively (on partisan lines) accepting outcomes from the privileges committee will most likely come back to haunt you in the future lprent.
I’m not defending WP, just challenging whether the privileges committee is an impartial arbiter of fact.
When listing all the things that make me believe that WP’s behaviour is wrong I wouldn’t list the privileges committee decision.
burt: If the police had found enough to lay charges with, then they’d have done so. They didn’t need the electoral commission approval to investigate fraud, corruption, or any of the other multitudinous accusations that were floating around. They investigated and didn’t lay any charges.
That tells me most of what I need to know about the assertions made by you and the other members of the lynching society – you are a pack of bullshitting fools who have no regard for either evidence or due process. That is despite me having no time for either NZF or WP.
In short, I think that you are a contemptuous hypocrite (bearing in mind your other statements here about waiting for the police) with no respect for the law.
For instance your statement below reeks of hypocrisy
Pity that you didn’t show that respect for due process with NZF and WP
So you are not disputing that the consequences of breaking the law should rest with the police and the courts rather than the PM as stated by rOb?
All other distractions about my position aside – are you disputing that key point?
burt: So you are not disputing that the consequences of breaking the law should rest with the police and the courts rather than the PM as stated by rOb?
So are you saying that the police and the courts are the correct way of handling things? That is not what you said last year?
Perhaps you’d better explain yourself more clearly. Otherwise we’d have to start questioning your situational ethics.
The politics (as rOb says) are just fallout and run at much lower levels of evidence. I’m sure that this will hurt the NACT government – as much as anything else from the (what was it?) three strikes that Key had with Worth prior to this fiasco, that he didn’t take.
Now we should get a chance to see a real National candidate in Epsom……. Maybe Rodney should watch out
So you are not disputing that the consequences of breaking the law should rest with the police and the courts rather than the PM as stated by rOb?
Oh Burt, stop trying to twist my words, it’s pathetic. I was referring to political consequences, obviously, not legal ones.
I didn’t think you could draw a distinction rOb.
Tell me again how parliament knew more about the law regarding use of tax payers money for election advertising than the Auditor-General did rOb. Tell me how it was right to call it a bad call and validate it.
I always supported seeing Winston dragged into court to defend the allegations against him. Once it got to the point that legally (due to the time limitations on the crimes involved ) the privileges committee was the last bastion of justice for a career littered with allegations of dodgyness – of course I pounced on it, as did many. Taking a strict legal stance that Winston has done nothing wrong is one side of an ethical debate, and not the side I take.
burt: I always supported seeing Winston dragged into court to defend the allegations against him. Once it got to the point that legally (due to the time limitations on the crimes involved ) the privileges committee was the last bastion of justice for a career littered with allegations of dodgyness – of course I pounced on it, as did many. Taking a strict legal stance that Winston has done nothing wrong is one side of an ethical debate, and not the side I take.
If it’d been intentional (ie the mens rea required to prove any charge) then it would have been up for some serious charges from the police. Fraud, corruption etc. That is what the morons in the sewer (and yourself) profess. Those don’t require anything more than a complaint. As was made to the SFO and triggered their investigation.
The police looked at complaints and walked away from it because they couldn’t see any evidence. There was barely enough to even look at the mens actus component of a case. If they’d had evidence to lay credible charges, then that is what they would have done.
As you are probably aware, I’m not a great fan of the NZ Police. However they do their job (something that Brash appears to have problems understanding), and their job is to find the evidence to make a case. With WP and NZF they didn’t find anything like enough for a charge.
So the only ‘court’ that it was put in front of was a mickey-mouse political and partisan one – the privileges committee. It is the least credible in the country. It was clear from the start there that the evidence was irrelevant. It was the political exposure that was important.
That is why Rodney spent all his time trying to get his latest suntan version in camera all of the time by siting behind the witnesses. It was a travesty of justice – trial by pre-determined lynching.
god you’re a drongo burt, replete with all the sanctimony of one who thinks others’ disinclination to engage you is proof of your righteousness.
the truth is burtie, you’re so far off track it’s really not worth the bother.
personal opinion don’t count if i recall the laws of defamation correctly
Worth is a public figure and there is protection for debate concerning such persons even if the allegation is not true as long as it is not motivated by malice.
? Tim stop.
I don’t see how or why someone would bring libel charges to The Standard. Its exactly the same situation you were in months ago when TravelerEve or whatever her name is was making all outlandish accusations of you committing slanderous acts. Secondly, the site is now on servers that aren’t in New Zealand. And I’m no IT expert but it would seem to be that it would be difficult to work out wtf Zetitic is.
[lprent: Impossible. At least you’d require log access to get a date and time stamp with an IP number. Or access to the database with the IP numbers. Since I wipe both automatically you’d have some difficulties since I don’t know who Z is.
I also have a couple of other warm sites available to move the system to – purely to annoy lawyers.
Besides the easiest way is to ask me or the moderators if something was over my line, then we’d look at it. However we adhere to fair comment standards in the current NZ legal framework without bothering about legal challenge and injunction. After the Lange case, that is very wide for politicians. ]
LP, I really doubt the Lange case allows people to make allegations of criminal activity for politicians to not be subject to defamation.
Speculation related to politicians? Directly covered by the case. The whole thing was about speculation about Lange’s motives and thinking – that was what Joe was doing and what the case was about.
I think you mean IP Address, Iprent.
[lprent: yep.. code is making my brain spin]
Well it’s your blog Lynn, and it may well not be defamatory, but based on my personal experience saying someone has “obviously… done the crime” based on an arrest, let alone an investigation, is manifestly unfair to that person.
As for using his resignation as a peg on which to hang the statement, that too is wrong. Resigning one’s public post(s) when named as the subject of a criminal investigation is the only right and proper course to take, guilty or innocent.
Yeah the wording could have been better. I took it as saying the the coincidence of Worth stepping down, JK’s comments on criminal matter about it, and the police announcing an investigation of an MP to being the same matter.
The trickle feed today from the Nats is really poor PR
So what is going on here?
I though when criminal allegations were made against an MP that the PM was required to intervene in the process by first calling off the police. Then once the police had been called off an inquiry with narrow terms was required to exonerate the MP. That inquiry was then supposed to run for about 9 months during which time MP’s would refuse to answer questions about it because â€˜process’ was being followed.
I just don’t get what this is all about Apart from ACT with the Donna Huata situation this kind of accountability is unprecedented.
What happened – Did Worth say he might stand as an independent ?
BTW: How is the Taito Field case progressing?
So what is going on here?
Nothing Burt, go back to sleep…
So what do you reckon rOb – validate him and kill off the court case once it starts ?
What I reckon Burt, is that you can’t make a comment without your reflexive “reptilian brain” (as you called it) “Labour Bad” spin.
What I reckon Burt, is that everyone should wait until the facts are known, then give the guy (Worth) and anyone else involved (if any) a bit of space and respect for privacy. Then it’s up to Key to sort out further consequences, if any, Bye…
Ah no rOb, that may have been how it worked under Labour, under National it should be for the police and the courts to sort out further consequences.
It’s called being accountable under the law, a refreshing change from being shielded by a toothless inquiry and years of delay tactics. I like it – I like it a lot.
Yes Burt yes. You are spot on.
I never knew burt thought our police were so corrupt. If they can be ‘called off’ then they are corrupt. Period.
I started that comment with “I thought‘ however if you want to validate my perception as being totally accurate then I won’t argue with you.
( I acknowledge I had a typo in my original comment – the missing “t‘”)
You’re trying to attack Labour, but you are really attacking the police as their corrupt lap-dogs. I’m not validating anything.
Just thought that was an interesting point, given our status as the least corrupt country in the world. You would think that direct political interference in the police would affect that, so either Labour are so good that only you could spot it (none of the international organisations did) or it was not interference in the first place.
Maynard, there’s a lot about the police that only burt’s razor sharp mind can detect.
He has even been known to state that the police will not lay charges against anyone who is a member of the Labour Party.
It really is a fascinating world under burt’s bridge.
Do you think consequences for breaking the law should rest with the PM or the police and the courts?
If it is the police and the courts then perhaps you could explain why the allegations of breaking the law made by the Auditor-General were said to be rubbish by the PM and never tested in court?
If you can put aside your opinion of me long enough to honestly answer that question it would be much appreciated?
Complete PR cock up by National on this. If Key knew before Worth that should have been reason enough to sack him rather than let this dribble out. Although, the cack handling could be seen as a greenbeltway issue.
gc, me calling travellereve stupid and dishonest, about somebody who goes by their pseudonym, is not the same as a person on the standard making allegations about a named person regarding criminal activity.
Irishbill has already deleted some of the clearly defamatory comments made today about Richard Worth.
I know there is a lot of speculation in the media about why he’s stood down, but I’m just making the point that the standard has a responsibility not to expose itself to libel by being a forum for defamatory comments.
It’s strange Tim Ellis and gingercrush, how you two never get sued over on your whaleoil blog, where ‘whaleoil’ slanders people all the time. Everyone of you who write there all use the moniker ‘whaleoil’ so how can one sue?
[lprent: IMHO it is bloody unlikely that either write there. But they can answer for themselves. ]
Wil, LP is correct. I don’t write on the whaleoil blog, and rarely read it. Since I publish under my own name, I am careful not to write anything that might be defamatory. It is no secret that “whaleoil” is Cameron Slater, who is an easily identifiable person who can be sued for defamation.
I have never seen gingercrush write anything here that could be actionable.
I don’t anyone would allow me to write post considering my awful usage of grammar and punctuation. Secondly you live in a delusional world.
There should be a “think” there.
The Sandhu incident was in Auckland was it not? We have Wellington police investigating here. So is it a different incident or would Wellington police investigate this?
I was thinking the same thing Quoth, cannot be taxi incident as that would be the Auckland plods.
Must be something new,
It seems to me, on the last ten years of evidence, that on a per capita basis there are more crooks in parliament than in the general public ….
… the implications …
Just the last ten years ?
You have a short memory ……… and they used to be under less scrutiny, there have been scumbags in NZ parliament from day 1.
Hmmm…. Labour shouldn’t be sounding off as too righteous about the time it has taken for Key to action this one. Afterall, how long did they defend Field for?
How long did they defend Field for? They didn’t defend him at all. He has lawyers for that. If you meant ‘how long did they wait before stepping him down from his senior responsibilities’, then the answer is that they waited appropriately until the situation was clear. You’ll recall it started as an employment matter, became an immigration matter and finally, a criminal matter. The first two are not neccesarily reasons to stand a minister down. The third certainly is, depending on the gravity of the alleged offense.
Field denied wrongdoing (and still does) and HC took his word until such time as formal action was clearly going to taken against him by the authorities. At such a point, the PM has little alternative under NZ parliamentary custom but to stand the person down, at least until he or she is cleared.
I suspect Key is in exactly the same position, it’s just that the process seems to have accelerated for Worth, presumably because he is going to be charged with something right about now.
The shame of it for Key is that he could have sacked Worth over the big noting, self serving India trip and set a clear standard for ethical behaviour in his administration. But, no, he chose to wuss out and look at the result. What a plonker.
Alsolutely right TVOR.
What did he have to lose by not sacking him after the India trip?
Nothing. He had everything to gain. He would have looked good in the public eye, would have shown decisive leadership and the political cost would have been zero as they have a healthy majority in parliament and I can’t see Worth(less) causing too many problems from the back benches.
exactly. Key’s indecision cost him the opportunity to look like a strong leader. now he just looks like a weak, reluctant reactionary.
Key on Worth, according to the Herald:
“His conduct does not befit a minister. I will not have him in my Cabinet. I have lost confidence in him as a minister.”
That’s pretty strong – and it makes the earlier attempt at secrecy and coverup look even worse.
Yeah, when did he lose confidence, last night or last week? wtf?
Guess we won’t know until Worth fronts in relation to what the police are investigating.
In question time he said Tuesday.
What earlier attempt?
WTF is Goff starting with:
Hon PHIL GOFF to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all his Ministers?
Surely there would be a better phrasing of this question particularly when he has stated he longer no has confidence in Worth. I guess it does allow the ability to work around the initial question much easier. It just seems strange.
It’s the standard – almost daily – question, and they do it that way because it allows the widest possible scope for bringing any Minister they like into it.
The meat will be in the supplementaries, and they will all be about Worth and what the Prime Minister knew. And if he doesn’t come clean and say why he will not have Worth in his Cabinet, he will rightly look shifty and deceitful (and likely worse when the details of whatever allegation it is emerge)
GC, since Dr Worth is no longer a minister, I suppose Mr Key can say he has confidence in all his ministers.
You’re probably right, Tim, but I’m wondering what the process for removing the ministerial warrant is and whether Worth remains as minister until the Governor General acknowleges the resignation? A bit pedantic I know, but maybe Goff is setting Key up for later embarrassment?
The really odd thing – as gobsmacked pointed out on another thread – is that yesterday Goff broke routine and didn’t ask it.
Would the questions have been set for question time before this came to light?
Seems like a fairly standard starting question for Goff.
That is possible. I’m not exactly sure what the rules around submitting of questions are. Though I would have thought Goff would keep pressing about the Cullen Fund and the budget. As such, I think this question was submitted after news of Worth’s resignation.
Jarbury: no. the resignation was announced at ~9:30; questions are not due until 10:30.
OTOH, the police didn’t make their statement until 11, so the opposition may not have had time to file anything better. But they will have plenty of opportunity to dig with supplementaries.
IS, isn’t it against parliamentary standing orders for MPs to ask questions that relate to an active police inquiry?
Tim, be a bit more imaginative in how MPs might phrase questions!
Ultimately all that’s needed is for lots of opposition MPs to get up on their hind legs and ask any question containing the words “Minister of Internal Affairs sacked/resigned/being investigated/of poor character/whatever” and for John Key to have to say “sub judice”; repeat all afternoon and then a bit more during general debate, and we have the rest of the agenda drowned out, the continuation of the “corrupt Tories” meme already well-established, and a platform for Labour to cry “coverup”. It ain’t pretty, and I wish they’d be a bit more interesting, but I get the sense they’ll take whatever opportunities they’re given at present.
Key officially had confidence in him until this AM. Its just a trick question to pick up when he found out.
In reality everybody knows that Key wasn’t happy with after the details of the Indian official/non-official trip thing.
“S, isn’t it against parliamentary standing orders for MPs to ask questions that relate to an active police inquiry?”
Depends on what they say, no-one has been charged with anything yet, plus Key with his “All I can tell you is his conduct does not befit a minister and I will not have him in my Cabinet….’If he hadn’t resigned I would have sacked him.” has pretty much stated he is guilty.
The rumours I am hearing are pretty ugly. And defamatory if untrue. But if they’re remotely on the ball, I’d expect to see Worth resigning from Parliament ASAP.
“ONE News Political Editor Guyon Espiner says it is known that the incident relates to a criminal matter and to something Worth has done in a personal capacity, not in his capacity as a minister.”
It is looking more and more like the rumours may have some substance,
What are the rumours?
Sonic it doesn’t matter what the rumours are and if anyone posts them here their comment will be deleted and they will be banned.
There are a lot of comparisons to Taito Philip Field going on. Putting partisanship to one side at the moment, the political ramifications of Field being turfed out of parliament had the potential to force an election. Key has the benefit of a comfortable majority to be able to act decisively in a manner that I am sure Helen Clark wished she could have been able to over the Field affair.
The fact that Worth is a list MP means that there will be no change in the make-up of parliament.
ok if anyone wants to email me said rumours that would be nice
[lprent: email deleted… Don’t put e-mails up on the site. It is an invitation to be a spam target.. and for the site to be harvested for them. ]
And me! … [lprent: email deleted… Don’t put e-mails up on the site. It is an invitation to be a spam target.. and for the site to be harvested for them. ]
and me- [IrishBill: as per Lynn’s comments above]
Haha, im going to sign you up for spam now. What an idiot!
Why do that?
Me too – [lprent: email deleted… Don’t put e-mails up on the site. It is an invitation to be a spam target.. and for the site to be harvested for them. (and unkind to give DPF’s addresses)]
I need more mis-information for my blog.
Nothing out of question time unfortunately
So Key took a week to fire him.
Still waiting for Helen to sack Winston.
Still waiting for Winston to be charged, let alone convicted.
Any news on that?
Well this is what the herald’s saying:
Given Worth is, as I understand (!), being investigated by the police, is it actually possible to keep all the details quiet? Even if it’s found there is no case to answer, would enough come out to make Key’s no comment line useless?
Don’t you mean ‘Manchurian’ PM?
TV3 has John Key’s press conference here.
Apologies if anyone else has posted the link 🙂
Moved to another post.
The police looked at the complaints and walked away from it because too much time had passed for them to prosecute. They only had a six month window from the time the party returns were filed with the details of the donation not declared.
If Helen had said “Actually I know that Winston is being dishonest” at the time Winston held up his “NO” sign then it would have been a different matter.
You defended Helen not disclosing what she knew when Peters was telling lies and she knew that he was telling lies. Yet you think Key should have spilled the beans immediately on Worth…..
History appears to be being re-written but I don’t think I’m the one re-writing it. I’m just being consistent when there are allegations of breaking the law by MP’s they should be tested in court. The Police using their “not in the public interest’ discretion opens the door for speculation of political interference in the judicial process.
What would you say if the Police turn around and say “not in the public interest’ over this case lprent ?