We don’t need to know

datePosted on 17:29, June 3rd, 2009 by Anita

Richard Worth has resigned from his ministerial positions citing “personal reasons” and taken a fortnight’s leave of absence from Parliament, John Key has said this is related to a criminal investigation for matters unrelated to his actions as a Minister or MP.

Why, other than a desire for gossip, do we need to know what Worth is being investigated for?

He, and any victim(s) that may exist, have all the same rights they would have if he were not in Parliament. If one of my neighbours was being investigated by the Police I would have no expectation of being informed of the existence of the investigation, let alone the substance of any allegations. Why is this any different?

categoryPosted in Media, Parliament | printPrint

18 Responses to “We don’t need to know”

  1. Dylan on June 3rd, 2009 at 19:25

    If one of my neighbours was being investigated by the Police I would have no expectation of being informed of the existence of the investigation, let alone the substance of any allegations. Why is this any different?

    The issue gets at the judgement of those who appointed Mr Worth to the position he’s resigned from-
    Did the National Party leadership know about the issues long ago and appoint him anyway- waiting for an investigation to begin before they decided to act?
    However, if the issue has been concealed from even the National Party leadership until now, than we deserve to know extent and nature of the investigation.

    Mr Worth is elected member and has been in an important position- resigning his position should not absolve him or his party from disclosing the details of this issue, as they relate to the public interest, and to his time in public office.

  2. Tom Semmens on June 3rd, 2009 at 20:13

    I assume your neighbour is not a minister of the crown. Holders of public office must be of the highest probity.

    It is not gossip for the public to demand a cabinet minister reveal the nature of the criminal charges he faces. It is called democratic accountability.

  3. Anita on June 3rd, 2009 at 20:28

    Neither of those answer the “why?” :)

    If we take Key at his word, that the investigation is into something unrelated Worth being a Minister and MP, then why do we need to know the detail?

    If he (desperately looking for safe hypotheticals) had been accused of beating his three dogs to death or being a hit-and-run driver on the way home from a wedding, why would we need to know the detail?

    Furthermore, if the accusation was of a crime that had a living human victim, it may well cause that victim additional unnecessary pain/humiliation for no good reason.

    It would be very different if the accusation was of something related to his role as MP or Minister (as Goff’s separate accusation is). But if we believe Key that it’s not related (and no-one in the know is challenging that) then knowing that he’s resigned should be enough unless/until he goes through a normal court process.

  4. Dylan on June 3rd, 2009 at 20:33

    Anita, why would/should we take Mr Key at his word? Mr Worth has a poor track record when it comes to determining what is in the public interest.

  5. Lew on June 3rd, 2009 at 20:45

    It’s prudent to believe Key’s assertion that it’s a private matter because there’s no evidence to the contrary; Key has no reason to hide facts which will probably end up being played out in open court, and every reason to tell the truth.

    Come on, even if you believe he has pâté de bébé on his vogel’s every morning you needn’t believe he’s a damned fool.

    L

  6. millsy on June 4th, 2009 at 01:03

    We will find about soon enough.

  7. SPC on June 4th, 2009 at 01:22

    I would suspect that the issue is one of loss of trust in the former Minister, this is something Key specified. In the National system the PM chooses his Cabinet, and thus to be unchosen all one would have to do is mislead the PM on something (not being charged and or convicted would then still count for nothing).

  8. Matt on June 4th, 2009 at 07:21

    “Prime Minister John Key investigated claims that Internal Affairs Minister Richard Worth offered a woman a job for romantic favours a month before police began investigating other serious allegations against him.

    Worth resigned yesterday as police announced they were beginning an inquiry into sex allegations involving an MP.”

    Of course we bloody well need to know. By the sounds of it, a minister of the crown is going to be accused of attempting to sell government jobs for sex (pretty normal behaviour for a Tory-boy if you ask me) – which at the very least is attempting to coerce someone to provide sexual services – a crime. John Key consciously lied through his teeth when he said it was a “personal matter”, and, it turns out, has been covering Worth for weeks since Goff first asked the question.

  9. Lew on June 4th, 2009 at 08:21

    Matt,

    a minister of the crown is going to be accused of attempting to sell government jobs for sex … which at the very least is attempting to coerce someone to provide sexual services – a crime

    You seem to have a rather loose, intuitive idea of what is a `crime’ which isn’t that close to the legal idea.

    In any case, this is not the allegation being investigated by the police, according to the talking heads on Morning Report earlier. Even Phil Goff accepts there’s no criminal case to be answered here – if there was, he’d have gone to the police instead of to John Key. As it was, he now has an opportunity to make political capital off the fact that Key didn’t take the incident further.

    L

  10. Lew on June 4th, 2009 at 08:29

    Let me add that I think the selection and backing of Worth, and the decision to take no further action on the allegations made by Goff does speak to the credulity and poor judgement of the National leadership. It could especially speak to a deeper attitude of misogyny and the minimisation of offending against women. But these are political arguments which need to be punished in the political and media sphere, not in the criminal sphere. It’s important that Worth is held to account for his actions in the justice system – but the big hits here are not in that system, and Worth is really a sideshow. The issue here is the political and social culture of the National government.

    L

    Edit: I see Maia at The Hand Mirror already made much of this point last night. Hooray!

  11. Matt on June 4th, 2009 at 09:16

    Lew –

    Inducing or compelling persons to provide commercial sexual services or earnings from prostitution
    (1) No person may do anything described in subsection (2) with the intent of inducing or compelling another person (person A) to—
    (a) provide, or to continue to provide, commercial sexual services to any person; or
    (b) provide, or to continue to provide, to any person any payment or other reward derived from commercial sexual services provided by person A.
    (2) The acts referred to in subsection (1) are any explicit or implied threat or promise that any person (person B) will—
    (a) improperly use, to the detriment of any person, any power or authority arising out of—
    (i) any occupational or vocational position held by person B; or
    (ii) any relationship existing between person B and person A:

  12. Francois on June 4th, 2009 at 09:17

    Why is this not relevant comrades?

    Always remember: The Personal is Political….

  13. Lew on June 4th, 2009 at 09:42

    Matt,

    But that’s (apparently) not the offence under investigation. You could perhaps argue that it should be, but I’d be amazed if there was enough evidence to make such a charge stick, and doubly amazed if any random person on the interwebs had access to it.

    Francois,

    I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means (in the way I think you mean it).

    L

  14. Anita on June 4th, 2009 at 09:46

    As I said in a comment further upthread, Goff’s allegations are related to his conduct as a Minister, so it seems to me that there is a case for public disclosure (which protecting the complainant of course).

    The investigation over which he resigned, if we believe Key, is unrelated to his conduct as an MP or Minister. I can’t see why we need to know the detail of the complaint, that Key believes he should resign seems sufficient to me at this stage.

    I’ll also echo Lew, this is an area where I think we can trust Key to be telling the turht. Firstly, Key would be a complete idiot to lie about the nature of the complaints being investigated, it would come back to bite him fast. Secondly, enough people know the detail, if he was lieing we’d know by now.

  15. Matt on June 4th, 2009 at 12:05

    I think it will be very difficult for Key to argue that this was “personal” whatever the potential criminal charges. He is saying that the police are investigating a different but similar incident. Goff says he showed Key the emails, phone logs etc. one month ago, which show that Worth was offering employment positions in exchange for sex. How is that “personal”? What compelling opposing evidence did Key have for his “investigation” to conclude no case to answer?

  16. SPC on June 4th, 2009 at 14:25

    If it is matters unrelated to being a Minister, then it was not job offers in return for a private relationship.

  17. Anita on June 4th, 2009 at 15:15

    Matt,

    No-one who knows has suggested that the investigation over which Worth resigned was for offering employment for sex. No-one who knows says that it is for conduct related to his role as a Minister or MP. Given that Key has a lot at risk if he lied (and nothing obvious to gain by lieing), and that many people who do know have a lot to gain by taking Key down, at the moment I’m prepared to believe him. What makes you think it’s a lie?

    Secondly, I haven’t seen anywhere that Goff gave emails and phone logs to Key, do you have a link for that? I’m very interested in Key’s (non)investigation so if what you said is accurate a link would be very gratefully accepted

  18. jcuknz on June 4th, 2009 at 20:24

    “Matt …John Key consciously lied through his teeth when he said it was a “personal matter”, and, it turns out, has been covering Worth for weeks since Goff first asked the question.”

    Surely one would need to make sure of one’s facts before dumping one of your ministers, and also be a little cautious of information coming from a political opponent. Just as you seem to hold John Key in little regard I’m not sure I have any regard for labour mps after the past nine years of a fluff almost every month.

    I don’t see any need for the current circus but of course sex and suggestions of sex sells … God help us.

Leave a Reply

Name: (required)
Email: (required) (will not be published)
Website:
Comment: