Slips in the cor­ri­dors of power

New Zealand Listener - - DISGRACE UNDER FIRE -

In pol­i­tics, even a sus­pi­cion of mis­be­haviour can be ca­reer-end­ing, as former MPs Dar­ren Hughes and Richard Worth dis­cov­ered.

Worth, a Cab­i­net min­is­ter in John Key’s first Na­tional Gov­ern­ment, re­signed in June 2009 af­ter a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched into al­le­ga­tions against him. Key said it re­lated to Worth’s “mak­ing a nui­sance of him­self to­wards women”. One woman with­drew her com­plaint, and in Novem­ber the same year, po­lice an­nounced Worth would not be charged.

Hughes, a Labour MP, re­signed in March 2011, af­ter po­lice be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing a com­plaint of a sex­ual na­ture made against him by an 18-yearold man. Hughes in­sisted he had done noth­ing wrong and in June that year, po­lice said there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence.

Other MPs have ac­quired con­vic­tions, in­clud­ing former Labour Cab­i­net min­is­ter David Butcher (fined in 1999 for fraud) and former min­is­ters Sir Dou­glas

Gra­ham (Na­tional) and Bill Jef­fries (Labour), sen­tenced to com­mu­nity work in 2012 for mak­ing mis­lead­ing state­ments in the Lom­bard Fi­nance prospec­tus. Former Na­tional min­is­ter and later Chil­dren’s Com­mis­sioner

Roger McClay was sen­tenced to com­mu­nity work in 2010 for de­fraud­ing the Par­lia­men­tary Ser­vice, World Vi­sion and Keep New Zealand Beau­ti­ful.

Act MP David Gar­rett re­signed in 2010 af­ter it was re­vealed he fraud­u­lently ob­tained a pass­port us­ing the name of a dead child. In 2011, former Na­tional, Lib­eral, Al­liance and NZ First MP Gil­bert Myles was sen­tenced to com­mu­nity de­ten­tion and com­mu­nity work for ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

Labour MP Ruth Dyson ad­mit­ted a drink-driv­ing charge in 2000; her col­league Trevor Mal­lard pleaded guilty to fight­ing in a pub­lic place in 2007 af­ter a dust-up with Na­tional MP Tau Henare.

Other former MPs have done jail time: Act’s Donna Awa­tere Hu­ata in 2005 for fraud and Labour’s Taito

Phillip Field in 2009 for bribery, cor­rup­tion and per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice.

In 1984, MP John Kirk, son of the late PM Nor­man Kirk, was held in a Dal­las prison cell for more than three months af­ter leav­ing New Zealand ow­ing $280,000. He was ex­tra­dited and sen­tenced to four months’ pe­ri­odic de­ten­tion for charges un­der the In­sol­vency Act.













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