A disgraced New Zealand government minister Richard Worth made "vulgar and sexually explicit" telephone calls to a woman, parliament was told Thursday, one day after Worth resigned as police revealed an investigation was being conducted in a separate case against him.
As the woman's statement was read in the House of Representatives, Worth, who resigned as minister of internal affairs, issued a statement insisting he had not committed any crime.
Details about the two women involved emerged Thursday as Worth, a former lawyer and member of parliament for 10 years, went into hiding after his resignation, citing "personal reasons".
A silence-breaking statement from the married father of an adult daughter was issued by a public relations company and insisted he was innocent.
"There has been a rush to judgement on the basis of rumour and speculation which has been damaging to my political career and hurtful for my family and friends," it said.
The initial police complaint is believed to have been laid by a Korean businesswoman, and Police Minister Judith Collins confirmed that the allegation was "of a sexual nature".
The other woman's statement was read to parliament by Phil Goff, leader of the opposition Labour Party, who revealed that she had told Prime Minister John Key a month ago about her experiences with the minister.
The woman, who is married with two children, said she did not want publicity but was speaking out because Key had claimed earlier that there was no evidence of Worth's inappropriate behaviour and "my membership of the Labour Party somehow lessened my credibility".
She said that after meeting Worth for the first time in November, he had sent her about 40 text messages, some ending with "xxx" and made more than 60 telephone calls offering her jobs.
"Several of the phone calls made by Dr Worth to me were vulgar, sexually explicit, and I believe were made when he was drunk," she said. "On one occasion, he asked me if I prayed for something to happen to my husband so we could be together."
The woman said his advances were unwanted and she repeatedly made it clear she did not want a relationship with him.
Key said Wednesday that he would have sacked Worth if he had not resigned because his conduct "did not befit a minister".
He said Worth had been given two week's leave from parliament to consider whether he should remain a member of the House of Representatives.
Worth's statement said: "There is a well-known principle in New Zealand that a person is presumed innocent until they have been proved guilty.
"At the moment, I have not even been charged with any criminal offence, let alone had the opportunity to defend myself."