All about Worth

June 8th, 2009 at 8:59 am by David Farrar

So many comments today. First Cactus Kate comments on ’s description of Complainant A is “strikingly beautiful”:

Imagine a man from the centre-right of politics objectifying a woman as “strikingly beautiful”. The left would be outraged.

Is it appropriate for a Party leader to be commenting on the physical appearance of one of his members? A member you are meant to be protecting the identity of? At what point did Goff feel the need to comment at all on her appearance? What possible context would it have been necessary to utter this stupid answer?

Kate mischievously suggests the feminist wing will be so outraged it may be BBQ at Maryan’s place!

The Sunday News reports that Richard’s daughter is standing by him:

THE only child of under-fire former minister claims the businesswoman who filed a complaint with police against her dad “has problems and needs help”.

“He is the best man in the world and I love him so much,” Worth’s 28-year-old daughter Virginia told Sunday News. …

“I am standing by my dad and that is all there is to it,” said Virginia Worth, a Newmarket, Auckland, rental car company manager.

“I am 100 percent confident and sure that everything is going to work out perfectly. I’m very proud of my father and he has been the most amazing and devoted parent anyone could wish for.”

There is enormous sympathy for Lynne and Virgina Worth, having to deal with all this.

John Tamihere writes:

The real target is not Dr Richard Worth or the complainant.

They are but a means to an end in the final game. In fact, they are merely unsuspecting pawns.

The head Labour wants is that of prime minister John Key.

He is new to the rough and tumble of bloodthirsty politics, of being in the gutter and having to slug it out.

While he is undoubtedly an outstanding corporate leader, and as such has had to deal with significant issues in regard to huge volumes of money and large numbers of staff and clients, the real dirty side of politics is now in play.

The question is, can he handle the constant and continual harassment and pressure the opposition will bring to bear? …

We see this by Goff insisting that the Prime Minister of New Zealand has to meet this “strikingly attractive” complainant despite the refusal to supply the text messages in advance.

Kerre Woodham writes:

What on earth would possess a man to think he could engage in this sort of behaviour and get away with it? Especially when one of the women was a Labour Party member.

He should be dismissed for that sort of poor judgment alone. There may well be no law against being a randy old goat but some of the allegations make for very uncomfortable reading.

Bill Ralston pronounces on the handling:

At 9.21 am on June 3, like the rest of the media, I received a short email statement from Richard Worth stating he was resigning his ministerial portfolio and would be making no further comment. Seven minutes later another arrived from Prime Minister John Key’s office saying he had accepted the resignation and would be making no further comment.

Hello? What were they thinking? A minister of the Crown resigns and the Government has nothing to say? Did anyone in the Administration seriously think journalists in newsrooms across the country would simply say, “Hey Richard Worth’s resigned but no one’s talking. Pity, well, where shall we go for lunch today?”

I think most people accept now the original press release was inadequate.

The problem with the Goff allegations is that he told Key only some considerable time, perhaps months, after first receiving the information that an Indian woman alleged Worth repeatedly made sexually inappropriate texts and phone calls to her.

He produced no affidavit from her and no texts were given to support the claim. Key instructed one of his senior staffers to investigate. Worth reportedly denied all, and threatened libel action against the woman. In a case where it was Worth’s word against an anonymous woman, Key was forced to accept his minister’s assurance.

And they still are refusing to provide the texts!

And finally the HoS editorial has some advice:

It is probably telling that, when asked on radio what he would do if criminal charges were laid, Key said that he could not sack Worth twice. It plainly implied that he did sack the minister and allowed the public announcement of a resignation as a face-saving gesture. If so, it is plainly the only slack the PM is cutting him. Helen Clark left a back door ajar or or at least unlocked for errant ministers to return; Key makes it plain that it will be a very cold day in hell before Richard Worth holds a ministerial warrant in one of his Cabinets. …

As to Worth himself, it may be beyond his capability to feel any shame. A man who exudes a sense of entitlement disproportionate to his status, he seems incapable of showing remorse about actions that plainly warrant remorse. After a private trip to India in which he spoke in his capacity as a minister while promoting an aviation company in which he had an interest, he was carpeted by his boss but would only allow, with a pained smile, that there had been a “perception” of a conflict of interest.

Well, the crystal-clear perception in that case was everybody’s but his – and this case is beginning to look remarkably similar. Rather than hide behind the niceties of legal procedure, Worth might like to act like a man: tell the public what he said and wrote, and when and to whom. And then he could explain why he considers it acceptable behaviour for an MP, never mind a minister.

This is Richard’s problem. He has the legal issue and the political issue. The best response to the legal issue is to say nothing, but that is the worst response to the political issue.

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13 Responses to “All about Worth”

  1. tknorriss (326 comments) says:

    There are some serious questions that Goff and the woman need to answer here:

    1. It is a fact that Goff knew about this situation since November last year. On that basis, it is reasonable to assume that he, or his advisors were in contact with the woman.
    2. This being the case, what advice did they give her? Surely, obvious advice would be to keep all the texts, and record the phone calls. Heck, the Labour Party would surely have the resources to set this up for her.
    3. Why did the woman NOT record the calls and why did she delete the most incriminating texts? (as per what Goff said on Q&A).

    This is all sounding very fishy. There needs to be some credible answers from Labour.

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  2. BK Drinkwater (20 comments) says:

    If Dr Worth has sufficient loyalty to the National Party to outweigh his absurd sense of entitlement, he must resign his seat as a List MP. He has become a total liability. Even if no charges are laid, even if the most damaging text messages have been deleted—as Phil Goff indicated they have—he is hurting National. He’s gotta go.

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  3. Doug (405 comments) says:

    Sounds Very much like a hit and run by the Labour Party.

    This posted by IrishBill at the Standard.

    Call me old-fashioned but the Worth scandal doesn’t really interest me much. In fact I’m of the opinion that Goff and others should just STFU about it now and let process take its course or risk having some of the unpleasantness of it rub off on the Labour brand by association.

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  4. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    David, I’m surprised you think Worth has a political problem. He doesn’t – his political career is over. He has only legal problems.

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  5. siobhan (278 comments) says:

    Goff is in the process of totally overplaying this.

    I can’t see how anyone could find it unreasonable for Key to ask to see the evidence before meeting with the complainant. In courts isn’t this called disclosure?

    He seems to be a quick learner – and can spot a blindside from a mile away.

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  6. tknorriss (326 comments) says:

    If you go back to the womans statement, she sequentially offered to:
    1. Put up the evidence.
    2. Talk to Key.

    This is precisely the way that Key is asking for it to happen.

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  7. Jeff83 (765 comments) says:

    Know Gin (Virgina ) quite well, awesome girl, and I do feel quite sorry for her at the moment.

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  8. Pharmachick (210 comments) says:

    This whole saga has been

    1) utterly odd (no text messages produced, one complainant being an *activist* for the opposing party, the other complainant being accused of similar “honeytrap” by a second high profile man etc …)

    2) a complete travesty on *both* sides (Goofoff has badly overplayed the situation but also; despite his subsequent excellent reaction, Key initially underplayed the situation with that totally inadequate press release – meh he’s learning I guess)

    3) A media circus

    BUT

    Jeff83 may have one of the most poignant and important points that I have yet seen …. few if any of the people have stopped their frothing at the mouth to consider the effects on Mrs. and Ms. Worth. I feel deeply for them.

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  9. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    If Philins not careful he might find some more information about the husband of a former Prime Minister bubbles to the surface

    There may well be LA consulate and MFAT personnel who are prepared to allow the bubbling process to occur

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  10. Inventory2 (9,786 comments) says:

    Phil Goff’s rationale lacks credibility. He wants us to believe that the woman complained to him, but didn’t want him to do anything about it as she didn’t want publicity. If that’s the case, then why omplain in the first place? As I blogged on Friday, it’s rather like being the victim of a home invasion, and ringing the police to tell them it’s happening, but not to bother coming around, thanks all the same.

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  11. noskire (796 comments) says:

    “Is it appropriate for a Party leader to be commenting on the physical appearance of one of his members?”

    Goff has more than one???

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  12. AG (1,727 comments) says:

    “If Philins not careful he might find some more information about the husband of a former Prime Minister bubbles to the surface”

    It’s not nice to spread rumours about Burton Shipley. He’s a nice guy.

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  13. 3-coil (1,182 comments) says:

    AG – are you trying to tell us Burton was in the cubicle too?

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