Some thoughts on Key’s continuing refusal to tell us why he fired Worth.
First, it’s tautological to say that a Prime Minister fired a minister because he lost confidence in him. The statement provides no new information.
Second, it is completely irrelevant that Worth is no longer an MP. The questions are about Key’s decisions while in the office of PM and Worth’s actions while in office.
Third, the test isn’t ‘why should he tell us?’, it’s ‘why shouldn’t he?’. The era when the default position of government was secrecy is long gone. Now he has contradicted his earlier statement about not wanting to contaminate a police inquiry, Key has no excuse not to make the reason public.
Fourth, even those who say ‘we don’t need to know why Key fired Worth’ are guessing the reason. Paul Henry for example said ‘we don’t need to know, it was obviously something to do with his conduct’ [yes, but what to do with his conduct, Paul]. The fact that everyone’s guessing shows the public interest.
Fifth, we have a right to know. We have a right to know why ministers of the Crown are fired. We have a right to assess the quality of the Prime Minister’s decision-making in firing the minister and how that reflects on Key’s decision to appoint him in the first place. No, there is no legal need to disclose but there is a political imperative. No other Prime Minister has ever kept the reasons for firing a minister secret. In fact, they’re usually more than happy to tell us to show that they are firm leaders who set high standards.
Sixth, isn’t it telling that National’s attack dogs are still trying to distract everyone with more mauling of the women at centre of the Worth complaints? If even Farrar can’t come up with some positive spin of his actions (and suddenly becomes fascinated with Iran instead), you know Key’s behaviour is indefensible.
Seventh, Key’s already told the National caucus and his senior advisers the basics. By now they’ve told their staffers and families. It’s like swine flu. Now it’s out there’s no containing it.