Report from BusinessDesk
New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters told Parliament this afternoon he had no confidence in his Tauranga-based list MP Brendan Horan, and called on him to resign as a Member of Parliament. Peters said Horan would be expelled from the eight-strong New Zealand First caucus. News media reports over the last fortnight have carried allegations from Horan family members that the former TV weatherman stole from the estate of his mother, now deceased.
In a statement shortly before Peters’ statement to Parliament, Horan’s lawyer Paul Mabey QC said his client was confident of exoneration on the allegations.
“Mr Horan completely denies any suggestion that he has stolen from his mother or misappropriated her money or assets. He invites any investigation into his mother’s affairs and is confident that any proper investigation will exonerate him entirely.”
The expulsion makes no difference to the balance of power in the New Zealand Parliament because Peters’ party is in Opposition and, if Horan resigns, he will be replaced by the next ranked candidate on the party list entered for the 2011 election.
Next on the New Zealand First party list is Helen Mulford, an advocacy manager for Spectrum Care Trust Board and a harness race trainer and enthusiast, from Pakuranga, Auckland.
While its leader has made a political career of exposing political and financial scandals, New Zealand First is itself no stranger to controversies involving personal and political probity.
Peters was embarrassed in the 2008 election over donations to the party from millionaire Owen Glenn, and saw his caucus implode in the mid-1990’s over scandals involving then MP, now adviser to the Maori King, Tukoroirangi Morgan, over unauthorised expenditure, including an infamous $89 pair of underpants.
Press release from Paul Mabey QC
PRESS RELEASE BRENDAN HORAN
1. As a result of the death of Mr Horan’s mother various issues have arisen concerning the administration of her estate. Those matters are private and personal to the family. Unfortunately some persons, for their own reasons, have chosen to make them public.
2. 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.
3. Mr Horan completely denies 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 entirely.
4. Mr Horan will make no personal comment at all on these matters but has instructed that this release be made on his behalf. As far as Mr Horan is concerned the sooner these matters are resolved the better as he will then be able to return to his work as a Member of Parliament to concentrate on fulfilling his duties without the distraction of false and unjustified allegations.
Paul Mabey QC