Women of Worth

Sunday News, June 7
Sunday News, June 7

THE only child of under-fire former minister Richard Worth claims the businesswoman who filed a complaint with police against her dad "has problems and needs help".

"He is the best man in the world and I love him so much," Worth's 28-year-old daughter Virginia told Sunday News.

On Tuesday evening, Worth resigned as a minister, hours before it was announced the National MP was under investigation by the Wellington CIB.

He became the first minister to quit under the National administration and Prime Minister John Key said had the MP not resigned he would have been "sacked".

"His conduct does not befit that of a minister and I will not have him in my Cabinet," a furious Key told reporters.

A Korean woman in her 40s complained to police a fortnight ago about an incident that allegedly occurred at a Wellington hotel between her and the then Minister of Internal Affairs in March.

Worth, who has not been charged, said he is innocent of any crime and would defend himself vigorously.

Today Sunday News can reveal why two women closest to the MP are supporting him, despite the innuendo around the former Auckland commercial lawyer.

"I am standing by my dad and that is all there is to it," said Virginia Worth, a Newmarket, Auckland, rental car company manager.

"I am 100 percent confident and sure that everything is going to work out perfectly. I'm very proud of my father and he has been the most amazing and devoted parent anyone could wish for."

Virginia said although she did not want to comment on the specifics of the allegations against her father, she was furious a complaint had been laid with police.

"It's a pity [the complainant] has problems and needs help. I really, honestly hope she gets the help she needs."

Virginia said she was "not too fazed" with the national media spotlight on her father, as she was confident the outcome of the police inquiry would be what the Worth family wanted.

"I am fine, we are fine, I am not worried as he has done nothing wrong," she said.

"There are no issues, my dad has nothing to worry about.

"I'm very positive this will all end well and the ridiculous allegations will be shown for what they are."

Virginia said she had spoken with her father about the allegations and she was satisfied with his response.

She refused to give details of his explanation.

"Our personal phone calls are not for me to talk about."

Also backing Worth is former gossip columnist Bridget Saunders, who has defended speculation she has been romantically involved with the MP.

Saunders told Sunday News Worth, who she met at the prestigious Northern Club five years ago, was a close friend but "that is it".

She said suggestions she had an affair with Worth were planted by the Labour Party, and branded the rumours scurrilous.

Saunders was "shocked and horrified" to learn of the allegations against Worth when they broke in the media this week.

"I was concerned for his well-being," Saunders said.

Worth, she said, was highly respected in legal circles.

"I have always heard him spoken of with great reverence inside the legal fraternity, very great respect.

"I hope he can clear his name as soon as possible."

Saunders revealed Worth's family were "upset" but said they remain "sure this will all pass because nothing lasts forever".

She said Worth was likely to be handling the controversy well "because he is an optimistic person.

"He is extremely clever but he does spin things positively."

Saunders said she had never had a sexual relationship with Worth but was aware of rumours suggesting she had.

"The rumours have been going on for a while," Saunders said.

"Richard is not the only married man I have been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with.

"They made me angry because I felt like I was a political pawn.

"We would probably see each other once every couple of months and have a drink for a couple of hours, that is the limit of it.

"He seems to be very devoted to his wife ... and seems to be very loving and caring like a doting dad."

Saunders said despite writing a gossip column for seven years for the Sunday Star-Times, she felt the rumours about her and Worth were "not usual gossip.

"This is politically motivated," she said.

Last weekend, Sunday News revealed Worth will be called as a witness for a defamation case being brought by Drew Glucina, mother of Herald on Sunday gossip columnist Rachel, against Saunders.

Sunday News