Worth asking

Written By: - Date published: 3:55 pm, July 5th, 2009 - 23 comments
Categories: corruption, john key - Tags:

What a world where a supposed journalist writes this:

The trouble is Key’s desire to be reasonable. Despite his intention to say no more about his reasons for losing confidence in Worth, he keeps responding to the media interrogation and seems unable to draw a line under the question.

The best approach would be, simply to state: “I have nothing more to say on the matter. Any other questions on any other issues?” Muldoon, Lange, Bolger and Clark all quickly learned how to kill a question line [though none of them ever refused to say why they sacked a minister]. Key needs to do that, too.

What a world where a PM keeping secret his reason for firing a minister is being “reasonable”. What a world where a “desire to be reasonable” is troublesome. What a world where Key needs to learn how to not answer questions. Glad I don’t live in that world. If Key were “reasonable” he would be upfront with us.

Ralston spends half his column going over the Worth smut: ‘Did woman A have it coming? Was woman B a skank?’ None of it matters. The only question is: ‘why did the PM fire a minister and force him to resign as an MP’. Key says it has nothing to do with the sexual stuff. So it’s all irrelevant. Which is why Ralston and Whale want to distract us with it.

This isn’t even really about Worth. It’s about Key. Did Key make the right call in firing Worth? Why won’t Key tell us what the reason was? What happened to Key’s promise of open government? The Herald editorial gets it:

The silence of the Prime Minister, John Key, is more problematic still. At first declining to comment because it was the subject of a police investigation, he later said he had “washed his hands” of Worth (who had resigned as a minister and, later, as an MP) and had moved on. But it is not satisfactory for the matter to be left hanging. Cabinet protocol may not require Key to disclose why he lost confidence in his minister and the caucus lost confidence in its colleague. But justice requires that we be told.

This is not simply a question of prurient gossip… In the interests of transparency of the executive, the matter must be brought to a tidy close – and not simply left to fade away.

23 comments on “Worth asking”

  1. mike 1

    His actions did not befit a Minsiter is Keys Govt – enough for you or do you enjoy panty sniffing?

    At least Key has standards as opposed to the last carry-alls who held office

  2. Zetetic 2

    Which if his actions did not befit a minister in Key’s government?

    Your statement doesn’t supply any new information. It’s just new words restating the same thing.

    Why did Key fire Worth?
    – because he lost confidence in him
    Why did he lose confidence in him?
    – because his actions did not befit a minister
    What were those actions?
    -panty sniffer!

    I don’t give a damn about the sexual stuff. As long as no crime has been committed. I care why a minister has been fired.

    And what are these standards that you say Key has? Can’t know the standard when we don’t know why Worth was sacked.

  3. barry 3

    Suppose, that when Key asked Worth about the allegations it turned out that Worth had misled him earlier. Suppose that that had caused him to give Goff some incorrect answers to questions. Would admitting that be embarrassing enough that he would rather not disclose the reasons?

    • Anita 3.1

      It seems to me that if Worth was fired for having misled the PM about something that was not related to his actions as a Minister then Key could quite safely say that it was because Worth misled him.

      Presumably that means it’s something else.

  4. Zetetic 4

    barry. maybe.

    wouldn’t be grounds to use ‘public interest’ as a reason not to answer.

    If Key has been using public interest as an excuse and the real reason isn’t public interest, he’ll have to resign.

    • felix 4.1

      Which casts an interesting light on Lockwood, doesn’t it?

      • Anita 4.1.1

        How? I thought he’d just being saying “if that’s what the PM is saying then that’s what the PM is saying”, tho I must admit to having not read recent QOA transcripts.

        • felix

          But the PM wasn’t saying any such thing – not until a day later. It was Lockwood who effectively answered the question for Key without giving Key a chance to say a word about it.

          Very weird day in the house.

          • Anita

            Oh, weird! Lockwood can be a bit of a fanboy sometimes.

            I need a job which is evenly busy so I don’t end up with big gaps in my knowledge of what happened 🙂

            • felix

              Yeah I know, nothing happens until you miss one day…

              If you’re interested in reading the Hansard, it’s question 12, June 16.

            • Anita

              Now I have read it, thanks for the steer! 🙂

              I looks to me like Hodgson raised the “public interest” question when he raised a point of order about Key not answering the question. It looks to me like Smith was helping Key out, but not that he brought in public interest himself.

              And yes, interesting things only happen when I’m too busy to notice. I’m away from Wgtn for four days this week, and out of NZ for three of those I expect to come home to a full cabinet reshuffle, a resignation, or yet another privatisation-by-stealth announcement (tho I reckon we’d get the latter even if we all had the radio on all day).

            • felix

              Yep, Hodgson used the words first, but only because he was quoting the standing order which contains them. He was referring the speaker to the other part of the standing order though.

              What was weird was that Lockwood told the house this:

              From what I heard the Prime Minister give in his answer, his assessment of the public interest is that it is not his intention to say any more about the matter, and he gave the reasons why.

              If you look back to the PM’s answer to which the Speaker was referring, the question of public interest was never invoked.

              We seem to be seeing the Speaker, of his own volition, providing a defense for the PM.

              Trevor picked this up the next day (after a repeat of the same question and answers) when he said this:

              I think the problem we are getting to now is that you are providing an answer for the Prime Minister that he himself is not prepared to give. What you have done in your ruling is indicate that it is the Prime Minister’s view that it is not in the public interest to give further information. If that is his view, then it is incumbent on him to say so. It is not incumbent on you to interpret—in fact, you should not interpret—that the Prime Minister is saying that, because it could well come out later that that is not the fact, and, effectively, the Prime Minister will be hung by your ruling.

              And then a little later:

              I think the matter could be easily cleared up by the Prime Minister indicating that that was, in fact, what he meant.

              To which the Speaker replied:

              There was absolutely no necessity for that whatsoever.

              And that was that. So now we have the Speaker actually blocking the PM from answering clearly whether he was indeed intending to invoke the “public interest” excuse or not.

              Very strange.

            • Zetetic

              it’s a bit more complicated than that.lockwood had been raising public interest for weeks.

            • felix

              Yeah, in a very general sense though. Making sure all ministers know that they have the option.

              This is a bit different.

        • Zetetic

          pretty sure it was lockwood who first suggested public interest. in fact he had been mentioning it for weeks before worth.

          that aside. if key uses public interest as an excuse, speaker has to accept that at face value.

  5. Ianmac 5

    Fancy a lowly journalist like Ralston seeing a need to advise Key on how to be a Prime Minister!!!???
    Or come to that the need for someone like Mike feeling the need to defend or deflect from, Key’s actions or inactions???

  6. Trevor Mallard 6

    I’ve speculated on Red Alert that Worth might have threatened Key with legal action which gives Key a public interest excuse to shut up – long bow but the best I could do :- http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2009/07/03/maybe-key-was-telling-the-truth/

    • Anita 6.1

      Couldn’t Key still answer the question in the House and be protected from the legal action by parliamentary privilege?

      • Trevor Mallard 6.1.1

        Yes he could Anita – but very hard for a PM to do these days – the media would just not be satisfied.

        • Anita

          But the possibility should be enough to remove a public interest justification to refuse to answer shouldn’t it?

          • Zetetic

            you’re assuming that the public interest excuse is justified at all in this case. hard to think how it could be.

  7. QoT 7

    I think it’s a lot less “a desire to be reasonable” and a lot more “a desire to make everyone like him” – and the presence of a whole room of journos saying “Oh please, Mr Key, we’ll write such lovely things about you if you just give us a little more info!” is too much to resist.

    • Ari 7.1

      Because as we all know, the media is only getting tired of him because he stopped giving them awesome stories about how like Obama he was.

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