Slips in the corridors of power
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.