"I simply cannot believe what I am reading here!!! ...amazing double standards by this so-called leader."Featured comment
UPDATE / Dec 5: Brendan Horan is refusing to quit parliament.
Yesterday the NZ First MP was expelled from the party's caucus, and leader Winston Peters called on him to resign as an MP.
Through his lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, Mr Horan says he is surprised by his expulsion and intends to remain in parliament.
Mr Mabey told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint his client said the accusations were untrue, and unproven.
However, the QC could not comment on new information given to Mr Peters yesterday, as neither he nor Mr Horan had been shown a copy.
Mr Horan would welcome any inquiry.
Brendan Horan expelled from NZ First
Dec 4: New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters told parliament this afternoon he had no confidence in his MP, Brendan Horan, and called on him to resign as a MP.
Mr Peters said Mr 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 Mr Peters' statement to parliament, Mr 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," he said.
Next on the list
The expulsion makes no difference to the balance of power in parliament because Peters' party is in opposition and, if Mr Horan resigns, he will be replaced by the next ranked candidate on the party list entered for the 2011 election.
Next on the 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.
Mr 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.
The following press release came from Mr Horan's Queen's counsel Paul Mabey:
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