Thursday, 4 June 2009

More "nuisance"-ing

This from Stuff, in a longer article about the whole thing:
"The [older, different] 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," [Labour Leader Phil] 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.

"Why I went to the prime minister is that I'd received a complaint from a woman that I knew, who is a member of the Labour party so I’ll put that right out front, but I didn’t believe her allegations were politically motivated," Goff told Breakfast.

"I checked out her story very carefully before I went to the prime minister, she had emails, she had telephone-logs, and the essence of her story was that she had been offered various positions by Dr Worth but ... the overtone was in return for a relationship."

"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."

Goff said he had not raised the claims publicly because "I didn't really want to go through grubby details of the allegations that were made".

Key said he had investigated the complaints but decided there was no need to pursue the matters.

"I have had someone bring an allegation to me of that nature ... and all I can say is I treated that allegation seriously. I investigated it and I was satisfied with the answers I received," he said.

Asked whether the nature of the police complaint was in a similar sphere to the earlier allegations, Key said: "Not of exactly the same nature, but of a similar type of nature." [my emphasis added]
I've met Richard Worth a few times, when I was the Alliance candidate for Epsom in 2002. We both talked at a few debates in the electorate. He told me that I should consider joining the Young Nationals, as they could do with some young woman like me who were passionate about politics.

Maia's already put the nuisance thing very well
, and I see Idiot/Savant has been thinking along the same lines. I don't have a lot to add to that at this point except to say a mosquito is a nuisance, and this is far far above a whining noise and an itchy bite.


DPF:TLDR said...

I don't want to look like I'm trying to make this into an attack on Goff, but I would think that privately bringing this up with Key wasn't the best step to take - even if he assumed Key would act in the proper way, this seems to me to have been a matter for the courts from the get go.

There may be some kind of parliamentary convention surrounding this kind of issue, but I'm really just thinking about Goff's obligations as a citizen who's become aware of a potential crime here.

stargazer said...

hugh, goff couldn't take this to the police without the woman's consent, i wouldn't think? and given the mauling women complainants have received in the media in recent times, one can certainly understand her reluctance to do so.

Cactus Kate said...

As I commented on Maia's post yesterday there are two incidents.

This is what I call the "sex pest" one. Key called it "nuisance".

While his texts and calls were completely disgusting (only as the woman did not consent to any sort of flirting by Dr Worth), there is little danger to the woman in terms of her personal well-being. Especially as she appears to have told her husband and I imagine he would deal with it efficiently.

The other one which is subject to a criminal complaint is FAR more serious and involves an alleged physical incident. Well that's the latest of a million rumours. It is also rumoured however that Dr Worth knew the woman and allegedly had some form of intimate relationship with her. Jury is out on that.

Worth is well known for making stupid, unwanted comments towards younger women. I know of another Young Labour member who actually befriended Worth.

In politics there is nothing better than a political conversion for an MP, however most of Worth's targetted converts seemed to be young and female!

Alison said...

The situation that Goff took to Key is distinct from the incident/s the police are investigating - it was inappropriate, and sexual harassment, but not necessarily illegal I think. I think Goff did what was appropriate under the circumstances.

I was horrified by Key's challenge to her on RNZ this evening (before Worth's statement was made public) that if it was true, she should want it made public. Insensitive and clueless at best.

DPF:TLDR said...

Stargazer, it's possible Goff communicated with the woman in question and she asked him to raise it with Key. If so, it's her call, and while it's regrettable she felt that's the best she could do, it's not Goff's fault.

On the other hand, if I became aware of something like this and my only action was to raise it in private with the harasser's boss, well, I don't really think I could tell myself I'd done all I could.

I can accept that what Worth did in the first instance may not have actually been illegal (although perhaps it should be!) but whether or not unwelcome sexual advances constitute anything illegal is, in my opinion, a matter for the courts, not a matter for each of us to make a call on individually.

shop girl said...

As well as the "nuisance" language, I'm really irritated by the emphasis on the woman being "happily married with children". So what? I mean, really, it would've been okay if she'd been childless or single? Is it worse because he was trying to poach some other guy's wife?

What's at issue here is that Worth (allegedly? is this confirmed yet?) used his position to try to lure/coerce/harass someone into a sexual relationship. It's not about her frickin' marital status!

Alison said...

On Morning Report this morning Goff explained that the woman spent some time deciding how to act on the harassment (after initially going to him when she was offered a job in November), before eventually sending her husband to speak to Goff about it. Goff laid out various options for dealing with the situation, and the woman's husband opted for the course taken because his wife didn't want to be in the public eye.

I feel sad for her that she seems to have experienced so much shame throughout, but it's unsurprising that she worried about being in the public eye given the way our media has treated some sexual assault and harassment victims in the fairly recent past.

Anonymous said...

Heard Key talking on National Radio this morning. The reason Key gave for not doing anything when Goff first raised the first set of allegations was that Worth swore that the women was wrong, that he would sign an affidavit to that effect and that he would bring defamation proceedings. And guess what Key did, he backed down and refused to do anything until more events transpired.

In the same interview Key squealed about being "piggy in the middle". Hang on, but isn't he meant to be the Prime Minister? Isn't one of the Prime Minister's obligations to be a leader? People attacked Helen Clark (and continue to do so), but you wouldn't have heard her squealing like Key.

Also, anyone notice that Key isn't looking quite so bright eyed and bushy tailed recently. Think he might be realsing that being Prime Minister isn't all beer and skittles.

Psycho Milt said...

Is it worse because he was trying to poach some other guy's wife?

Yes, it is. Much worse. Even worse than the fact that he was on the pull while married.

Lucy said...

I would say, re: the marriage question, it is undoubtedly worse to hit on someone in a committed and publicly acknowledged relationship than it is to hit on someone who's single. Not because the woman or man belongs to anyone, but because it's an insult to their public commitment to their spouse or partner to assume they'll be open to your approaches. It indicates an attitude of entitlement which goes above and beyond the entitlement already displayed.

Alison said...

Worse to hit on someone you know is married than someone single? - yes.

Worse to continue to hit on someone you know is married than someone single, after they have spurned your advances? - no! It shouldn't matter whether someone is single or partnered, if they've told you they're Not Interested.

@Psycho Milt
Can you explain why you think it's worse to hit on someone else's wife than to be "on the pull while married"? I'm not really sure why one is worse than the other.

DPF:TLDR said...

Of course Lucy, just because somebody is publically in a relationship, doesn't mean it's a monogamous one.

Psycho Milt said...

Can you explain why you think it's worse to hit on someone else's wife than to be "on the pull while married"?

Wife/husband, it applies either way. Here's the difference - you have an absolute right to fuck up your own life whatever way you want, including your marriage if you're that much of a shithead. What you definitely don't have is any kind of right to fuck other people's marriages up. It's not a matter of good vs bad, it's a matter of bad vs worse.

Anonymous said...

You guys missed the boat big time on this. The only opinion that matters is Cactus Kates, she's right. There is something very fishy about this.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about Goff saying she was strikingly beautiful?

Ouch. Goff has put his foot in it completely. What is your opinion on that?

Cactus Kate said...


That argument doesn't fly does it? So if a married women has an affair with a single man what you are saying is that the married woman has the "right" to fuck up her own marriage but the single man doesn't have the "right" to fuck up her marriage?

Therefore the married person is always in the "right" and the other participant is more to blame? Utter nonsense.

The married person took the vow before (usually) God.

It takes two to tango.

DPF:TLDR said...

Milt, why is fucking up a marriage worse than fucking up any other committed relationship? Or are you including that in your definition of marriage?

Alison said...

PM, in addition to the previous two questions, why on earth would you think the only person in a marriage affected by one of them cheating is the person doing the cheating? What about the partner who had no choice?

Psycho Milt said...

Hugh: I take a more liberal definition of the word "marriage" than the state or the church do. Yes, that's not something that's going to be obvious to the casual reader - fair cop guv.

Kate: how is it wrong? For one thing: if you decide to wreck something precious that you carry a share of the responsibility for, it's bad, but not as bad as wrecking something precious that only other people are going to have to carry the can for. Basically, it comes down to "Did you make the first move?"

For another thing: we're not talking here about a single man, we're talking about a married man trying to fuck married women other than his wife. He's not only betraying his own marriage, he's working hard to fuck up someone else's while he's at it. You bet that's worse than only betraying his own marriage.

Alison: I haven't claimed only one person is affected by adultery. As to why I think Worth's example is worse than trying to fuck single women, see my response to Kate.

Michael said...

I hope to see this Labour Party member a little further up the list next time. She has proven poise, tact, and class under fire.