Key's Cabinet Hall of Shame

By NZ Herald staff, Herald Online

Wordle

John Key has had to accept the resignation of four Cabinet ministers in his time as Prime Minister. We've mashed up his statements to see what words and sentiments he commonly uses in such moments. Check it out above.

Nick Smith. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Nick Smith. Photo / Mark Mitchell

1. Richard Worth - June 2009

Dr Worth was the first minister to leave John Key's Cabinet, resigning from his portfolios of Internal Affairs, Land Information, and Associate Justice. Shortly afterwards he resigned from Parliament completely.
His departure was precipitated by a private trip to India during which he promoted an aviation company in which he held shares and a directorship. He later resigned the directorship and sold the shares. It was also reported at the time that a company Dr Worth held shares in had links with another company which was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

Ultimately though, it was an allegation of a serious sexual nature from a Auckland-based Korean businesswoman that led him to resign. John Key accepted his resignation, police investigated - but decided against laying any charges.

2. Phil Heatley - February 2010 (later reinstated)

Mr Heatley resigned as Housing Minister and Fisheries Minister, after anomalies were discovered in his expense accounts. He was found to have charged two bottles of wine to his Ministerial account as food and beverages, although no food was actually included. He paid the money back and apologised, but resigned anyway - saying he'd failed to live up to his own standards.

John Key announced his return to Cabinet in March after an inquiry found that while Mr Heatley spent taxpayers' money wrongly, he did not intentionally break the rules. Mr Heatley is the current Minister of Energy and Resource and Minister of Housing.

3. Pansy Wong - December 2010

Mrs Wong quit Cabinet in November 2010 after it was revealed her husband Sammy could have conducted private business while on a taxpayer-subsidised overseas trip. Rules around the perk - which paid up to 90 per cent of MPs' and their spouses international travel - prohibited any private business activities during trips funded by it.

A Parliamentary Services inquiry ordered by Speaker Lockwood Smith cleared Mrs Wong and her husband of any serious misuse of taxpayer-funded travel perks. It found all other trips to China, where Mr Wong's business interests were limited to a hovercraft company, were taken for personal reasons, including a June 2005 trip to Fujian province he said was taken to search for family roots and meet relatives. Mrs Wong apologised and paid back the $474 rebate for the China trip.

However Labour MP Pete Hodgson pushed for the Auditor-General to carry out a further inquiry.

Amid that, Wong decided to quit Parliament altogether, saying the row over the use of the travel perk was an unfair distraction to the government and she wanted to concentrate on her family.

4. Nick Smith - March 2012

Dr Smith quit today as Local Government, Climate Change and Environment Minister, over a letter he wrote in support of a woman seeking ACC compensation while he was ACC Minister last year. The woman, Bronwyn Pullar, was described as a 'friend' of Dr Smith's. Earlier he'd said he'd made an 'error of judgement' in writing the letter, which was on Ministerial letterhead. The Opposition put pressure on Dr Smith to explain the exact nature of his relationship with Ms Pullar, who he met in the 1990s.

A second conflict of interest breach over Ms Pullar's case was revealed by Dr Smith today, when he admitted signing off a formal response to a letter Ms Pullar had initially written to then-assistant ACC Minister Pansy Wong in 2010 appealing her case. He told the House he hadn't declared a conflict of interest in signing off the formal response from ACC. He said it was that second breach of conflict of interest standards that prompted his resignation.

Dr Smith's resignation was accepted by the Prime Minister, who said Dr Smith had let himself down.

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