The Press editorial:
During his six months in the job he had distinguished himself by quickly becoming the weakest link in the administration of Prime Minister John Key. The final straw was the police investigation into serious sexual accusations against Worth which made it untenable for him to continue to hold a ministerial warrant. Key, quite correctly, demanded his resignation and has made it clear that if this had not been given he would have sacked Worth.
Labour leader Phil Goff now has the gall to claim that Key has displayed a lack of leadership, as the Prime Minister had known of the issue for a week before acting. Yet Key actually showed a sense of natural justice in making his own inquiries into the accusations before casting Worth adrift.
And never mind Goff sitting on another allegation for up to 75 days before acting.
Effectively sacking Worth was also a stark contrast to Labour’s refusal to sack New Zealand First leader Winston Peters before the last election when accusations of funding irregularities were swirling around him. Admittedly it is easier for a prime minister to punish a member of his own party, but Labour’s refusal to act decisively over Peters for political reasons was a real failure of leadership.
And Goff voted against the Privileges Committee report. He voted to say that Winston did nothing wrong.
Where Key may be faulted is in his initial statement about Worth on Wednesday morning. In it, Key repeated Worth’s own line about “private” matters prompting the resignation.
Although Key would not have wanted to prejudice the police investigation, he still should have indicated that the reason for the resignation was the inquiry into Worth’s conduct and not ill health or a family bereavement.
Which is the point I originally made.
Even if the police inquiry clears Worth, he will clearly not regain a Beehive post, as several of the former government’s suspended ministers did, which reflects a tough streak in Key.
Unlike the previous Government that put fallen Ministers back into the Ministry on numerous occasions.
Key cannot sack Worth from Parliament, although the MP could be expelled from the National caucus. But even if Worth stays on as a lonely National backbencher, his chances of receiving a safe list position for the next election are nil.
Less than nil.Tags: Richard Worth, The Press