Despite getting a “bollocking” from John Key, Richard Worth last night denied that he had been acting as a minister when he went around India promoting flight training provided by a company he had shares in. Unfortunately for Worth, they have the internet in India too:
Indian Express 28 Feb 2009 ‘My personal commitment to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is that New Zealand will be committed to improve efficiency and productivity of the farmers in the state by providing them technology transfer in agriculture, horticulture and dairy sector,’ said Dr Richard Worth, Minister of Crown, New Zealand.
In an exclusive interview with Newsline, Worth said: ‘We can contribute a lot to agri-technology as our farmers became self-sufficient after the Government stopped giving them any subsidy a few years ago. According to our estimates, some 20 per cent of the perishable items in India are affected due to lack of technology. We can help here with our advance technology which ensures more storage life for vegetables and meat products.’
Worth said Tata, Kingfisher and Reliance are household names in New Zealand. ‘Ten per cent of the total population of our country, around two million, comprises Indians. Of this, 10 per cent, around 1.22 lakh, are Punjabis. Our embassy in Delhi issued 30,000 visitor visas last year and of this, 50 per cent were from this region. These exclude the student and business visas.’
‘Our visa rate is 88 per cent. This will also improve in the coming days with more student and visitor visas. We will be making it easy to get visitor visa as the rules will be relaxed and same will be done for business visas to attract more investment, especially in infrastructure, construction, telecom, energy and tourism.’ he said.
‘For students who want to study in New Zealand, the Civil Aviation sector has a lot of scope. One can get a Commercial Pilot Licence in our country in only eight months at the cost of 70,000 New Zealand Dollars, around Rs 18 lakh, from Southern Institute of Technology Civil Aviation Limited,’ he added.
Worth said: ‘We have asked the government to start a direct flight between India and Auckland and also an India Trade Centre in Auckland.’ (big ups to gobsmacked for the find)
UNP 27 Feb 2009 ‘A new chapter began in the bilateral relations of Punjab and New Zealand as both entered into two Memorandums of Understanding, declaring Waitkere and Amritsar cities as Sister cities and to provide training to Punjab pilots in New Zealand.In a formal ceremony held here today, representatives of Punjab and New Zealand signed two MoUs in the august presence of Deputy Chief Minister S. Sukhbir Singh Badal and New Zealand delegation led by their Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Worth OBE.’ (credit to rOb for this one)
Worth is talking as a minister and he is promoting his flight school in the same interview. Then he signed an MOU as minister to advantage the flight school. He had an actual conflict of interest and, worse, he lied about it.
Key promised us a new era of accountabilty. Looks like we’re about to find out what Key’s word is worth.
PS. Last night Annette King shied away from using the word corrupt. I hope Labour won’t today during Question Time. National was very successful in labelling the Labour government. If Labour won’t do the same, no-one else will do it for them.