Horan defends calls to TAB

Brendan Horan
Brendan Horan
Calls from the parliamentary-funded cellphone of former NZ First list MP Brendan Horan included 11 to an Auckland TAB number in the space of four days, according to phone records seen by the NZ Herald.

But Mr Horan, who returned to Parliament this morning in defiance of party leader Winston Peters' call for him to resign his place says he was entitled to call whoever he liked with that phone, and he denied allegations he has a gambling problem.

Mr Peters expelled Mr Horan from the NZ First caucus yesterday after receiving information which left him "with no confidence in Mr Horan's ability to continue as a member of Parliament".

That information related to allegations by his half brother Mana Ormsby that Mr Horan misappropriated money from his mother prior to her death in August this year, partly to fuel a gambling habit.

The Herald has seen a single page of Mr Horan's parliamentary cellphone records which include 11 calls to an Auckland TAB number between April 3 and April 7 this year.

But Mr Horan this afternoon told the Herald there was no restriction on parliamentary phones; "You can call who you want to call."

While Mr Horan has acknowledged he does bet on horses he said claims his gambling was out control were untrue.

"There are all sorts of wild allegations being bandied about. I'm not prepared to have to stand here and defend every allegation that comes along. I do not have a gambling problem. It's a simple as that."

"This is just a witch hunt. I've been accused of everything. I'm surprised December 25 is still on the calendar."

After telling the Herald last night he would return to Parliament, Mr Horan this morning attended a closed session of the Maori Affairs select committee.

The Herald understands Mr Horan was barred from his former NZ First office this morning.

Following talks with the Clerk of Parliament and Speaker Lockwood Smith he was shown to a new office in the old parliament building.

It is thought he also discussed seating arrangements in the House, and staffing and funding.

Questions in the House and speaking slots in some debates are awarded on the basis of proportionality, and New Zealand First can expect to lose some of its entitlements. Taxpayer funding for the party will also be affected.

Mr Horan told the Herald his plan was "to try and be as effective an MP as possible now I'm an independent MP and my values haven't changed".



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