Parliament's Speaker David
Carter has confirmed he is investigating whether NZ First
misused taxpayer funding by paying for software used to seek
votes and raise cash for the party.
Former NZ First MP Brendan Horan yesterday claimed claimed NZ
First had spent as much as $20,000 in parliamentary funding
from Winston Peters' leader's budget to develop and operate
"taxpayer-funded software for party political purposes such
as campaigning and fundraising".
He made an complaint to Mr Carter who early this afternoon
confirmed the matter was under investigation.
Mr Horan also said yesterday that NZ First parliamentary
staff were working on running the Vanguard software during
the election year.
"This is a clear breach of Parliamentary Service guidelines.
"I call on the leader of the party to open his leader's
budget accounts to the scrutiny of the Speaker first and then
the public of New Zealand."
Rules for parliamentary funding are intended to ensure the
money is not used for party political purposes and the
Parliamentary Service rules of conduct state that
parliamentary staff, must, in the course of their work "avoid
electioneering, political party business (i.e. acting for the
non-parliamentary branch of the party, such as political
party administration, fundraising or campaign related
activities), and other actions that are party political in
Mr Horan said the public had "a right to know what their
money is being used for and whether it is being used legally"
and last night confirmed he had lodged a complaint with Mr
Carter Mr Carter's office did not respond to requests for
Mr Horan had previously indicated he was going to make the
claims in Parliament yesterday but Mr Peters was not there to
When asked if he had deliberately avoided being in Parliament
while Mr Horan made his claims, Mr Peters said: "Have you
ever seen me run away from a fight?"
Mr Peters later confirmed he was in Auckland for a previously
scheduled eye operation.
Meanwhile, Mr Horan had a fight of his own to make his claims
as his former NZ First colleagues, Richard Prosser, Barbara
Stewart and Andrew Williams, raised a series of points of
order to try to block him.
Outside the House Mr Horan refused to repeat the claims
without the protection of parliamentary privilege.
Mr Prosser said the allegations were "pretty wild, pretty
spurious, and pretty sad".
Speaking from Auckland, Mr Peters said Mr Horan's claims were
lies. While he confirmed NZ First had used parliamentary
funding to develop the software, he denied the software was
used for party political purposes.
"It's used to enable our expansion into sector groups, all
sorts of commercial and social interest groups where we're
able to spell out what our policies are and interact with
"It is run by someone who knows precisely what the law is as
to the appropriateness of use and what you can and cannot
However, he also said the software had not been launched yet.
He also dismissed internal documents obtained by Mr Horan
which show discussion of the use of Vanguard for fundraising
• NZ First used about $20,000 from its taxpayer-funded
leader's budget to purchase the Vanguard "constituent
• Mr Horan claims Vanguard is used to seek memberships and
donations which is against Parliament's rules.
• NZ First staff who are paid by Parliamentary Service are
running the software which is also against Parliament's