Last Monday, John Key said you, the people of New Zealand, don’t have the right to know why a minister in your government was sacked.
We think you do have that right. And so do others. We have been told the reason from sources in and around the National party.
The only reason for Key to keep the reason for firing Worth secret was to prevent harm to his government. That always meant it either was something really terrible and not limited to Worth (always unlikely), or that Key had acted impulsively and fired Worth for a minor offence that would set too low a bar for sacking other, more important, ministers. Don’t get too excited. It’s not the super-conspiracy.
Key fired Worth for being an adulterer.
The calculation was that Worth’s sleaze laid bare in public would have been a running sore, so he got rid of him. Almost a bit of a let down eh? That it’s something so trivial. But that’s exactly why Key had to try to keep it secret.
Ministers are human. Sometimes they are unfaithful. It happens not infrequently. That could leave Key in a bind – be a hypocrite or fire vital ministers.
Not only that but anything ‘as bad’ as adultery is now a sacking offence. Every transgression by a minister will come with the question, is this as bad as what Worth did? The pressure will be unrelenting.
Key’s claim it wasn’t in the public interest to reveal the reason was just another of his lies. The real reason was he didn’t want this to become a publicly known standard that he would be held. Firing Worth for adultery was a typically impulsive decision from Key, and in typical fashion he has attempted to avoid the consequences by keeping it secret.
Now, Key will have to enforce this new standard and fire ministers that have broken, are breaking, or do break it, which could see a number of important ministers gone. Or he will have to relax the standard. That will show him up as a hypocrite – impulsive, expedient, unfair, and slippery.
The standard, now public, also changes things with the media. Key has given every journo worth their salt a huge incentive to dig around the private lives of his ministers. If he applies the same standard to other ministers as he did to Worth (and to be seen as fair and honest, he must), then he will have to sack any that have strayed. That’s an easy chance for a journo who gets the right info to secure a large feather for their cap.
No wonder he didn’t want you to know. Lucky some others did. The real issue now is Key’s abuse of the public interest excuse to cover his arse.