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NZ politician quits over sex allegations

A New Zealand politician quit parliament today, nine days after he resigned as a government minister over sex allegations.

world Updated: Jun 12, 2009 13:07 IST

A New Zealand politician quit parliament Friday, nine days after he resigned as a government minister over sex allegations.

Since it was revealed Richard Worth was being investigated by police over claims made by a Korean woman living in Auckland, other allegations have emerged that he pursued another woman with sexually explicit text messages and phone calls.

Worth said Friday his conscience was clear, but said the decision to resign was in the best interests of Prime Minister John Key's National Party.

"It would be easy for me to be bitter about the avalanche of rumour and innuendo that has led me into making this decision, which I regard as being in the best interests of my party," he said in a statement.

He reiterated he had not committed any crime and said he was confident he would be cleared of any criminal conduct.

Key welcomed Worth's decision Friday, describing it as a "sensible course of action".

"The decision gives the country an opportunity to move forward and focus on the issues that matter," Key said.

The former minister of internal affairs, who entered parliament in 1999, has been under fire as details of the allegations against him gradually leaked into the media following his resignation last week.

The allegations that Worth had sent "vulgar" text messages and phone calls had been made by a woman in the opposition Labour Party, and Worth blamed a political conspiracy for his downfall.

Worth was the first minister to resign since Key's centre-right National Party swept into government in elections in November, ending nine years in power for Helen Clark's Labour Party.

First Published: Jun 12, 2009 13:06 IST