Friday, June 5, 2009

The Curious Case of Richard Worth

First of all, thumbs up to the Herald for grabbing hold of the Richard Worth case and not letting go, even if it seems that they have nothing to do with the breaking of the story - and even if praising a media outlet for running with a political scandal is like praising a dog for wolfing down dog biscuits. Or Garth George for scoffing a delicious homemade pie.

But there are a few interesting tidbits to be taken from today's front page articles on Dr Worth's fall from grace:
  • The sub-headline says that "Worth speaks out to deny committing any crime". Spoken like a true lawyer. It may well be that that's the case - I'm no expert on the law - but that's hardly the point. Just because Bill Clinton didn't 'seal the deal' with his intern doesn't mean that his defence was anything less than disingenuous. And just because Worth may not have committed a crime in allegedly offering at least two women contacts, jobs and board roles in exchange for sex doesn't mean that he's off the hook - a point that John Key seems to have (finally) accepted. As Phil Goff rightly (for once) pointed out last night, putting aside Worth's seedy antics, offering political roles, including positions on government boards, for anything other than merit is the political scandal here. Worth's claims to not have violated the law, true or not, are a laughable red herring, and aren't worth the newspaper they're printed on.
  • There's a Herald exclusive here too:

    The Herald met the Auckland businesswoman yesterday, but she was too distressed to discuss the incident.

    Her friend, who helped her to go to the police, then to the office of National MP Tau Henare so it could tell Prime Minister John Key, outlined her allegation of a serious sexual nature, using a whiteboard to explain the events around the incident.

    A whiteboard, you say? Fascinating. What brand of marker did they use?
  • Political reporter Patrick Gower wastes no time in informing us of all the ethnic comings-and-goings of the case. I know that, whenever I hear of a political sex scandal, the first question that pops into my head is 'What race are the people involved? Is there any miscegenation going on?' Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long in this case to find out.

    She is a Korean in her 40s who has been in New Zealand for several years. The friend said she had citizenship.

    The friend said she had received a threat from a fellow-Korean since making the complaint, and had reported this to police.

    How intriguing! I don't know what interests me more: the mere fact that the complainant is Korean rather than, say, white; the intimations of Asian-on-Asian violence in the second sentence; or the implication that, seeing she has citizenship, she is not, in fact, an appropriate target for sexual advances from a married minister of the crown.
The National Party website lists Dr Worth's interests as mountain climbing, Bollywood films, Korean classical music, and the "early works of Sun Tzu" (before he got all self-indulgent and preachy). Meanwhile, "in his spare moments Dr Worth enjoys time with his wife Lynne and adult daughter". From the sounds of his activities, those moments must be rather spare indeed.



  1. I was wondering about the wife thing too, I had kind of assumed he couldn't be married...

  2. Sadly if a newspaper runs as-yet unsubstantiated allegations against someone, it is prudent to run said person's plea of innocence should those allegations prove unfounded.

  3. "...What brand of marker did they use?..."

    Apparently in Austrlia they call whiteboard markers "texters."

  4. Anonymous: Point taken. I just think it's interesting that he hasn't (really) claimed that the events didn't happen, but that he hasn't committed a crime. I would have thought that would have been worthy of some sort of comment.

  5. it appears to be heading towards a dispute over whether the sex was consensual, not whether sex occurred.

    and the argument for a criminal case is not strong at this point.

  6. I wonder if the whiteboard usage resembled the scene in Black Books with Fran and her fat landlord? Quality viewing, that.

  7. I dont see the problem with someone using their power for sex. Isn't that what animals do? Good on him for getting laid - and fu*k his wife, she's probably old.

  8. "The Herald met the Auckland businesswoman yesterday, but she was too distressed to discuss the incident."

    A "meeting," was it?

    Sounds more like "The Herald stalked her until she told them to fuck off."

  9. Hardly, 3410, given that the close friend that urged her to go to the police was more than happy to give a full interview in her presence.