I speculated this morning that Goff may have known about the earlier complaint for as long as 75 days. I was wrong. It seems he said on Morning Report that he was alerted way back in November 2008 – within days of the alleged harrassment beginning.
So in fact Goff knew about this for six months – including most of the period where the alleged 100 phone calls and texts occured. And then three months after they stopped, then raised it with the PM.
Cactus Kate also raises issues around why was Worth not told to stop early on.
I don’t think any of this excuses the alleged behaviour though.
The hypocrisy from Labour on this issue is quite stark. They are saying Key should not have taken Worth’s word for it, and investigated further.
Now Worth not only denied the allegation, he wrote that he was prepared to sign a statutory declaration that they are false. This is a sworn oath on penalty of perjury – Jeffery Archer got a long jail sentence for making such a false oath. So you had a barriaster and solicitor of the High Court, an MP, and the Associate Minister of Justice saying he will sign a sworn statutory declaration, against a second hand complaint with no supporting documentation.
Sure with benefit of hindsight you can argue one should have asked for the text messages – but the complainant herself has said the text messages by themselves prove nothing without the phone calls.
Now for the hypocrisy compare Labour’s position on Owen Glenn’s donation to Winston Peters legal fees.
Helen Clark admitted that she had known for over six months that Glenn said he donated to Peters. She phoned Peters who denied it, and she left it there – saying it was not up to her to investigate – depute this being a breach of the Cabinet Manual.
Now Peters did not, as Worth did, offer to sign a statutory declaration. He did not state in writing they were false. He did not say he was so convinced they were false he would sue anyone repeating them.
So the double standard from Labour is immense. In Helen’s case she had direct first hand testimony from Owen Glenn, on a mater of absolute fact (did he donate to Winston’s legal fees or not – can be proven within minutes), and a mere verbal denial from Winston. And Labour says Helen was right to take Winston at his word, even though this was a simple factual matter that could have been proven by a request to Glenn for a copy of the bank transfer.
And here we have a PM who has an anonymous allegation from a Labour Party activist, who will not be named, who has not supplied any documentary evidence – against a Minister who denies it in writing, and says he will sign a statutory declaration at risk of perjury if false.
Now sure a reasonable person can say both Clark and Key should have inquired further. And a reasonable person could say neither Clark nor Key should have inquired further – you trust a Minister unless there is direct written proof. Also one can very reasonably say Key pushed as far as he could (given the offer of a statutory declaration) but Clark did not (as it was a simple factual matter which could have been proven in minutes)
But how can anyone reasonably claim Clark was right not to inquire further, while Key was wrong not to do so?
I’m sure some of the commenters will give it a good go though.