NZ First leader Winston Peters has expelled MP Brendan
Horan from the NZ First caucus, saying he has no confidence in
Mr Horan's ability to continue as a member of Parliament.
Mr Peters told Parliament about the decision today, saying he
had seen evidence relating to allegations Mr Horan had
misappropriated money from his late mother and that needed to
be treated seriously. Mr Peters said he had conducted as
thorough an investigation as possible into those allegations.
"I requested from the original complainant and those
associated with him evidence to support their allegations,"
he told Parliament.
"I also instructed Mr Horan to give every opportunity to
resolve this family matter so that I could be assured those
allegations were without foundation.
"Until a few days ago, we had not been furnished with any
evidentiary material from any of the parties in this dispute.
However substantive material has now come into my possession,
some as recent as 2.15pm this afternoon.
"The information we have received leaves me in a position
where I have no confidence in Mr Horan's ability to continue
as a member of Parliament, and he will be expelled from the
NZ First caucus forthwith.
He said it was a "bitterly regrettable situation" but NZ
First had placed its decision on the public record as soon as
"The nature of this inquiry means I am unable to make any
further comment outside of Parliament."
He earlier put Mr Horan on leave and told him to try to clear
up allegations about money going missing from his late
mother's bank accounts.
Earlier today, Mr Horan's lawyers issued a statement on his
behalf, saying he rejected any suggestion he had
misappropriated money and was confident a full investigation
would exonerate him.
The suspension does not mean Mr Horan has to leave
Parliament. He can stay on as an independent MP. Mr Peters
said he believed Mr Horan was honour bound to leave
The statement from Mr Horan's lawyer Paul Mabey, QC, today
said various issues had arisen concerning the administration
of his mother's estate as a result of her death.
"Those matters are private and personal to the family.
Unfortunately some persons, for their own reasons, have
chosen to make them public.
"Mr Horan has been the subject of unwarranted and unfair
publicity which has implied that he is dishonest and has
stolen from his mother. There can be no other interpretation
of that publicity,'' the statement said.
"Mr Horan completely denied any suggestion that he has stolen
from his mother or misappropriated her money or assets. He
regrets that a private and personal family matter has been
made public and his only wish is that the issues concerning
his mother's estate are resolved quickly and properly. He
invites any investigation into his mother's affairs and is
confident that any proper investigation will exonerate him
Mr Peters told reporters after his statement to the House he
was bitterly disappointed at how things had turned out.
"You bust your gut. You make some serious sacrifices and so
do hundreds and thousands of others and it's always a
bitterly disappointing moment."
"But we have got a responsibility to the public of this
country, to Parliament and to the party itself.
"My party will be relieved that we have done our duty."
Mr Peters said that the caucus had been briefed on his
findings but it would meet later today to expel Mr Horan. His
expulsion from the party would be automatic.
He would not discuss the details of the information he had or
why he had come to his decision.
Asked if he believed it was enough to warrant a criminal
investigation he said he would not comment.
He said he had used parliamentary privilege to make his
statement because "I am not going to be subject to people
spraying defamation writs that cost you a fortune no matter
how correct you might be or not and that is used to muzzle
people. I did not wish to expose myself to that."
He said issues of whether Mr Horan had a mandate to continue
in Parliament, seeing as he had come in on the list, should
be addressed to Mr Horan.
But he alluded to a bill passed by Parliament in the wake of
party-hopping in the period from 1994 to 1999. It forced MPs
who had been expelled from their parties to leave Parliament
but it had a sunset clause and is no longer in effect.
"We supported the waka-hopping bill and we didn't ever
support that it had a sunset clause," he said.
"We supported it then and we still support it."
Mr Peters agreed he had been put in the position of judge
over Mr Horan "because that's position I'm in and I have got
to take it deadly seriously as you all did in the last few
"I did and when I got the information I treated it
Prime Minister John Key, when asked if Mr Horan had lost his
mandate to continue as an MP, said Mr Peters had made his
announcement under parliamentary privilege and it would be
foolish of him to comment.
- By Claire Trevett of the NZ Herald