Thursday, June 04, 2009

"A nuisance"

So now it turns out the complaint which led to Richard Worth's resignation wasn't the only one against him. Phil Goff passed on a complaint last month:

"The allegations were essentially that Dr Worth had offered a number of different positions that were within his gift as minister to this woman, with the overtones that this was in pursuit of romantic ambitions," Goff said.

"One was as an adviser and one was as a board member within the responsibilities of Dr Worth but the overtones were that he wanted to develop a relationship with her," Mr Goff said on Radio New Zealand.

Goff had told Key there was evidence to suggest "inappropriate" suggestions were made in a series of emails and phone calls.


"The emails were personal, they were about 'do you want to come swimming with me?' … Do you want to take a holiday with me overseas, I want you to buy this see-through clothing. This woman is half Dr Worth's age, she is a happily married woman with children, she was offended by it."

John Key called this "making a nuisance of himself towards women". That's putting it mildly. Here we have an allegation, backed by solid evidence, of a Minister attempting to use his position for sexual favours. That is not "a nuisance"; it is outright sexual harassment (not to mention a gross abuse of office), and Worth should have been out on his arse a month ago. The question then is "why wasn't he?" And is this the sort of behaviour Key tolerates from his Ministers?

Update: The more I think about it, the more outraged I get at this. This is the worst sort of entitled Tory Boy behaviour, and it makes you wonder what era Worth thinks he is living in. Seriously, what sort of a Minister sees government positions as favours to be handed out to bribe people into sleeping with him? It's practically medieval!

Update 2: And while I'm at it: Key's treatment of the complaint - essentially asking Worth and accepting his denial without bothering to check the evidence - smacks of Tory Boy as well. It's the typical "I talked to my boy and he denied it" - treating serious allegations as simply a matter of someone's word, and devaluing the claims of the complainant - despite their being backed by evidence - because she was just a woman and not part of their club. Another holdover from feudalism that we can do without...