Under-fire MP Brendan Horan has consulted police and the Privacy Commissioner about the leak of his phone records.
The bill from his taxpayer-funded mobile phone showed numerous calls to the TAB. But Mr Horan said he had not broken any rules and the calls added up to only about $20.
Mr Horan appeared to be pointing the finger at NZ First leader Winston Peters yesterday, saying the leaking of his calls “for political gain” was “grossly irresponsible and reckless”.
Mr Horan originally authorised the release of the records by Parliamentary Service, after Mr Peters asked to see them.
Now Mr Horan says the leaking of telephone numbers “jeopardised the protection of innocent people” who had contacted him confidentially.
I think Peters had the right to release them, but they should have blacked out all phone numbers on the statements except the ones to the TAB.
After meeting last night, the NZ First board released a statement saying that Mr Horan, “by his own action in notifying the Speaker that he be regarded as an independent Member of Parliament, had in doing so, relinquished his membership” of the party.
This looks like an attempt to get around the requirement in their own rules for a hearing into any expulsion. But on the face of it they are lying. Hansard records:
Honourable members, under Standing Order 35(1)(c) I have been advised by the New Zealand First Party that its parliamentary membership has changed and that Brendan Horan is no longer a member of the New Zealand First Party for parliamentary purposes. Accordingly, under Standing Order 34(4) Brendan Horan is from 4 December 2012 regarded as an Independent member for parliamentary purposes.
There is no mention by the Speaker about Horan notifying the Speaker. Peters did.
I think Peters has made the right ultimate decision, but that doesn’t excuse the total lack of any sort of fair process, let alone trampling on his party’s own rules. It is hypocrisy especially as Peters went to court over National’s non-selection of him in the 1990s.
This just confirms that NZ First isn’t a real political party. It is a personality cult. They haven’t even managed to elect a Deputy Leader more than a year after the election.