Horan’s future

December 5th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

There are some interesting issues about Horan’s future. There are four aspects in regard to his future role.

  1. His membership of the NZ First Caucus
  2. His membership of the NZ First Party
  3. His affiliation in Parliament
  4. His membership of Parliament

With regard to the 1st, the NZ First caucus is the master of its own destiny. They can make their own decisions and rules, subject to any rules laid down by the party itself. But the party does have some rules. Rule 60(a) states:

The Parliamentary Division consists of the members of the Party elected to the House of Representatives.

Rule 60(b) states:

If a member of the Parliamentary Division ceases to be a member of the Party that person ceases to be a member of the Parliamentary Division.

But Horan is still a member of the party. Now you can argue that these rues don’t stop the caucus suspending an MP, or even expelling him. But it seems the caucus has not made any such decision on Horan. It is unclear if they have even had a discussion on the issue. Also Horan claims no allegations have even been put to him directly:

A defiant Mr Horan, speaking through his lawyer, said he would stay on as an independent MP.

“His question was, ‘Why should I quit, what have I done wrong? Just because Mr Peters has expelled me, and I have been convicted in the court of Mr Peters’,” Mr Horan’s lawyer, Paul Mabey, told Radio Live.

“Mr Horan is the subject of unproven allegations which he completely denies. None of the allegations have ever been put to him directly nor has he been shown any evidence to support them.”

It is very unclear that Peters has the power to unilaterally declare Horan has been expelled from caucus, or even that he will be expelled from caucus. However the only people with standing to challenge this are other members of the caucus.

Possibly Peters can argue he has authority under 59(b):

The Leader shall exercise all authority necessary for the effective organization of the Party’s activities in Parliament.

Amusingly the party leader is also the only MP exempt from paying a 10% tithe to the party!

But there is an important point here. Leaders should not have the power to unilaterally expel MPs from caucus. I think it is good that Winston has acted swiftly against Horan, but I assumed he had at least put the issues in writing to Horan, given him a chance to rebut them, and then make a recommendation to caucus. That might take a couple of extra days, but as Peters had known about the allegations for three months, then a couple of extra days wasn’t significant.

The next issue is whether Horan is still a member of the NZ First party. Under the NZ First constitution he clearly is. Rule 10 sets out the process to terminate membership. It is:

  • Board receives complaint that a member has had conduct that is offensive, undesirable, or inconsistent with the welfare and interest of the Party.
  • Board decides to hold a hearing
  • The member is notified, by registered mail, within 14 days of the nature of the complaint, the date, time and place of the hearing, and that the member can be held
  • The Board can then after the hearing expel the member.

Now Peters has said Horan’s expulsion from the party will be “automatic”. This is deeply hypocritical and cuts across Horan’s rights under the rules. I’d say it means Peters can’t be part of the Board’s deliberation and opens their decision up to judicial review.

Why it is hypocritical, is Peters himself took National to court in the 1990s over their decision not to approve him for selection, effectively kicking him out of the party.  It is a classic case of do what I say, not what I do.

We now have the third scenario, of Horan’s affiliation in Parliament. Standing Order 35(1)(c) states:

A party must inform the Speaker … of its parliamentary membership

All that is needed here is a letter from the party leader. His or her word is treated as authoritative. At this stage it does not appear Peters has written to the Speaker declaring Horan is no longer part of the parliamentary caucus.

Finally we have whether Horan can remain as an MP. The answer is yes, unless he is convicted of a crime with a maximum sentence of two years or more, or resigns.

Some have argued for a return of the electoral legislation that expels an MP from Parliament if they are no longer a member of that party. But what we have seen with this case is exactly why we should not have such a law. A party leader could then expel MPs at whim, without even bothering to have a caucus vote. Muldoon would have loved such a power.

I do believe Peters has done the right thing in acting against Horan if there is substantive proof of wrong-doing that Horan can’t credibly rebut. But the process he has followed has been seriously flawed and dictatorial and for Peters especially very hypocritical.

The final piece of hypocrisy:

He declined to comment further outside the House, saying he had made his statement under parliamentary privilege to avoid possible legal action. “I am not going to be subject to people spraying defamation writs.”

This is the same person who threatens people on a regular basis with defamation writs and has sprayed a few around himself, including against David Carter.

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62 Responses to “Horan’s future”

  1. thedavincimode (6,133 comments) says:

    Dear Santa

    All I want for Xmas is for Horan to be completely exonerated.

    Oh, plus popcorn of course.

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  2. Gerrit (105 comments) says:

    Are employment laws (it is after all Mr Horans “job” to be a parliamentarian for NZ First) being broken my Winston Peters?

    Can he arbitory “sack” an employee of the state without going though process us mere mortals have to go through?

    Is Mr Horan a state employee or a NZ First employee?

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  3. iMP (2,154 comments) says:

    Horan is employed by Parliamentary Services on the NZF ticket, their published list. NZF is not the employer.

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  4. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    What an utter, utter mess. Given the events of 1998, when the New Zealand First caucus split apart over the question of continued presence within the National/NZF coalition, I suppose that at least no-one else has joined Mr Horan at this point. It is a prolonged process. However, until the police have reached the end of their investigation into questions raised thus far, it would be premature to say much more about it. On the one hand, Horan’s own party leader has expelled him from the party, but the key protagonist maintains his innocence. Who to believe? I agree, though- Winston needs some more resilient due diligence when it comes to list candidate selection procedures. What happens when NZF does select list candidates? Does His Winstonicity have divine fiat over the composition, or is it a collegial process?

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  5. Elaycee (4,089 comments) says:

    Why it is hypocritical, is Peters himself took National to court in the 1990s over their decision not to approve him for selection, effectively kicking him out of the party. It is a classic case of do what I say, not what I do.

    Old habits die hard, huh?

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  6. thedavincimode (6,133 comments) says:

    ChardonnayGuy

    Are you sure it’s an issue of Peters doing insufficient due diligence on his candidates and not the reverse?

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  7. smttc (638 comments) says:

    Well, since we haven’t seen any substantive proof of wrongdoing, there is no basis for what you may or may not believe about the correctness of Peters’ decision in this matter.

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  8. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I think that ‘Do as I say, not as I do.” sums up Winston Peters perfectly.
    As for ‘Who to believe?’

    LOL.

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  9. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    59(b):
    The Leader shall exercise all authority necessary for the effective organization of the Party’s activities in Parliament.

    Is that a normal arrangement for parties in NZ Parliament? Or is Winston First unique in this regard?

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  10. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    A very good summary of the legal position DPF.

    As everyone (here at least) knows, I found myself in a similar position to Horan, although I resigned from the ACT caucus before I was pushed. There are many – including some journos, but that’s no surprise – who still dont quite get the difference between the caucus and the party. Although it was widely reported that I had, I never resigned from the ACT party.

    My two cents is that Horan has no mandate at all to remain there, and should resign from parliament altogether. That is the conclusion I came to quite quickly regarding my own position. There were those who suggested I turn around the Labour taunts that I was “the member for Sensible Sentencing” and say that’s actually right, I represent that organization’s many supporters.

    I never really gave that much thought before resigning altogether. As far as I know, Horan cannot claim he represents some specific constituency within NZ First voters. Compulsive gamblers perhaps? His remaining in parliament as an independent list member is untenable.

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  11. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    PS:

    The final piece of hypocrisy:

    He declined to comment further outside the House, saying he had made his statement under parliamentary privilege to avoid possible legal action. “I am not going to be subject to people spraying defamation writs.”

    This is the same person who threatens people on a regular basis with defamation writs and has sprayed a few around himself, including against David Carter.

    Sorry but I don’t see that particular item as hypocrisy. If others are foolish enough to open themselves up to defamation writs, more fool them… but Winston is sensible not to put himself in that position.

    [DPF: Of course it is hypocrisy. He was complaining that defamation writes are used to gag people - and he does exactly what he was complaining about]

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  12. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    DVM: I suspect that some of Winston First’s candidates would have grave difficulty in spelling ‘due diligence’, let alone comprehending it. Many of them strike me as sycophants and mercenary carpetbaggers- particularly that tragic tabloid gutter glossy alumni Richard Tosser -oops, Prosser. However, as RRM has clarified that matter for us (thanks mate), it does indeed seem that he is the one that made the decision to include Horan high within his party list, and must take the apportioned blame for that if the police investigation goes against his former List MP.

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  13. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    David Garrett – ta, that’s more or less how I believed the rights & wrongs of it to be also.

    If you’re an electorate MP in the MMP era and you’re kicked out of your party, then there seems to be some room for you to argue that the citizens of Waikikamookau voted to have YOU in parliament representing them, so dammit, you’re staying as an independent MP and that’s the right thing to do.

    If you’re a list MP and you’re kicked out of your party, then, as you say, you should go immediately – because the electorate voted for an XXXX Party bum on a seat, no-one specifically voted for *you*.

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  14. iMP (2,154 comments) says:

    So, what happens if Horan joins the Maori Party as an MP?

    http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/how-to-expel-an-mp-horan-nzf/

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  15. lazza (296 comments) says:

    Yes Curiouser and Curiouser … “said Alice/White Rabbitt” can’t remember exactly who … To the point … Who else saw the party vote yesterday when the NZ First voter-nominee put up “Eight votes against”, followed by a Nat party point of order that proposed that maybe it was not “Eight”. Duly agreed … (Speaker/Members aquiesed) that the vote would be indeed be “Seven against” . Does this not point to Winston winging it solo? without (arrogantly) discussing it first with his motley bunch of grace and favour beholden-sychophants … Uh Oh! I sniff trubble … with a capital “JR” … Horan/QC/Judical Review.More legal fees to find “W”!

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  16. Paulus (2,304 comments) says:

    Winston Peters is the New Zealand First Caucus, and the Party.
    All his MPs owe total allegiance to him as they would not be in Parliament without him (and the media).
    Winston is also a hypocrite also as he still owes the taxpayer the $158,000 he stole. He has constatntly lied, and doesnot know the difference between fact and fiction.
    Let him make his Horan comments outside Parliamentary Priviledge. Coward won’t of course.
    And this man could very well hold the balance of power in the 2014 election.
    God help us.

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  17. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    iMP: As I understand it – Graeme E is da man on these arcane matters – there is nothing stopping him joining the Racist Party, whose vote would then increase by one. The so-called “waka jumping” legislation expired due to a sunset clause, so I dont believe there is anything stopping him doing so.

    Worst case, he could give his vote to the MP, and then attend parliament for the rest of the term for the minimum time necessary to avoid having his pay docked. (Not an option that I ever considered).

    Paulus: Peters is much scarier than any of you know…but the story is too long to be told here.

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  18. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    …and parts of it would certainly attract a defamation writ.

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  19. s.russell (1,486 comments) says:

    All of this is a disgraceful abuse of process and natural justice.

    It would be appropriate for Horan to be suspended, pending investigation. Expulsion is a verdict of guilty based only on accusation, without even the opportunity for the defence to state its case.

    Of course, Winston, and his supporters, do not care twocents for such notions as justice or due process…

    David: You owned up to your misdeeds, Horan denies them (and might even be innocent. That makes it a rather different case, I think.

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  20. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Graeme E is da man on these arcane matters – there is nothing stopping him joining the Racist Party, whose vote would then increase by one.

    Worst case, he could give his vote to the MP, and then attend parliament for the rest of the term for the minimum time necessary to avoid having his pay docked.

    The only people who can stop Horan joining another party are that other party. That party’s parliamentary funding, etc. would also increase.

    Pay is only docked if the total number of sitting days missed by an MP exceeds 14 in a session (which we don’t really have any more as each session lasts for the entire term of Parliament). After that 14 days is reached, $10 is deducted for each sitting day missed.

    Also, the House doesn’t actually have a mechanism by which it notes absences, so even this is toothless.

    There is a bill before Parliament at the moment that would change this: the Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill.

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  21. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    This is fascinating, and the comments so far indicate what a complex situation looms – or has arisen.

    Personally, I always suspected that our adopting MMP as an electoral system – the system tailor-made by the Western Allies to prevent the rebirth of Nazi Germany btw – and the enemy of firm, progressive government – was going to end in tears.

    Well, it hasn’t ended – not yet, anyway – but what a b-ggers muddle it carries with it when problems such as this one arise!.

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  22. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Akaroa:

    1. how is this complex?
    2. who is in tears?

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  23. Keeping Stock (9,791 comments) says:

    Clearly the NZF caucus had no part in expelling Horan. Peters claimed he made the decision after receiving additional information at 2.15pm yesterday, i.e. during Question Time. There was certainly no mass migration of the remaining six NZF MP’s plus Peters to the lobbies after 2.15pm for an emergency meeting.

    Let’s drop any pretence the NZF is anything other than a vehicle for Winston Peters and his not-inconsiderable ego. What Peters says or decides goes.

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  24. thedavincimode (6,133 comments) says:

    chardonnayguy

    Yes, good point. Fancy me giving them that much credit. :oops:

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  25. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    Oh Graeme, can’t you see the way its all going? I’m the actual man-in-the-street, just an ordinary Joe elector, and in my book the posts above are evidence enough that opinions and positions on the question of Mr Horan’s position just serve to illustrate what a political tar-baby we bought when we adopted MMP. No party discipline when the chips are down, no effective sanctions against maverick MPs.

    You bought it – you live with it. Unfortunately so do the people – like me – who thought ‘rocky road ahed’ when NZ blundered into MMP.

    And I’m in tears – metaphorically speaking – at the, unfortunately not unusual, behaviour of political identities I shrink from naming.

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  26. Sofia (785 comments) says:

    Is Brendon Horan not sworn in before the Governor General as a New Zealand First List Member, or just a List Member?
    Why does his change in party status not trigger some action from the Governor General or is any swearing in just the total sham we suspect it is.

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  27. thedavincimode (6,133 comments) says:

    KS

    That makes two of us :)

    Do you actually think that the slime Peters’caucus has any part in anything (apart perhaps from the tea and biscuits)?

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  28. Reid (15,626 comments) says:

    His remaining in parliament as an independent list member is untenable.

    and

    Peters is much scarier than any of you know…but the story is too long to be told here.…and parts of it would certainly attract a defamation writ.

    I don’t disagree Horan is badly compromised however is this an opportunity to get some of Peters story into the open under Parliamentary privilege under an ongoing Horan vs Peters scenario? Or is that too fanciful.

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  29. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    Winstonism has always struck me as a cult of personality. It centres on its key populist figurehead and his entourage of sycophants and would not exist without the man himself. Its core constituency consists of the elderly remnants of Robs Mob and various populist provincial and rural souls, as well as carpetbaggers and religious social conservative apparatchiks and other misfits (ie Tosser- oops, Prosser…)

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  30. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Ongoing Horan vrs Peters
    :lol:
    Any noise from Peter’s pets, press release ,journalist interview?

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  31. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Sofia: MPs elected at a general election are sworn in by the Clerk of the House. Those who aren’t sworn in on the first day are sworn in by the Speaker.

    They are all sworn in *as MPs*.

    There is no distinction between those who are elected on lists or from geographic constituencies, or between those who are in parties, or are independent.

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  32. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Akaroa – you think the problem with MMP is that there is “no party discipline”?

    Of all the voting systems we could choose between at the last election, MMP is the one with the greatest amount of party discipline.

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  33. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    KS: Yes, it is absolutely clear that it was Peters and not the NZF caucus who purported to expel Horan. You are also quite right that the “information received as late as 2.15″ had to have been a txt or phone call to Peters in the chamber..or perhaps he was just lying.

    Sofia: Members swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, administered by the Speaker. The only time the good old GG becomes involved is if you become a Minister.

    Meanwhile…I have it on good authority that Horan quickly became known around the precincts as “the octopus”, a man with many hands…

    Having said all of that, I have the greatest empathy with his family…apparently he has young kids…the jackals in the media will be all over them…

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  34. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    ‘Its core constituency consists of the elderly remnants of Robs Mob’

    That quote probably comes from an voter

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  35. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    Meanwhile…I am told that Horan is currently in his Select Committee, and the jackals are camped outside…perhaps Gower will shove a microphone up Horan’s nose, and Horan won’t be as restrained as I was…If Mallard can try and drop Tau in the the precincts….I see a big popcorn day ahead!

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  36. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    David G: Sofia: Members swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, administered by the Speaker.

    Cast your memory back, David, and you will recall it was the Clerk of the House. There can be no Speaker until MPs are sworn in to elect one.

    That said, the law does allow for MPs to be sworn in by the Governor-General. I’m not sure why, but it does. Certainly doesn’t happen any more, though.

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  37. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    GE: As always my boy, a fount of wisdom on such matters…yes of course it is the Clerk…

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  38. Viking2 (10,752 comments) says:

    You would have to say that this just didn’t happen yesterday but has been a continuing story for apparently 2 months or more.
    Two months that Horan has been on the mat and seemingly failed to put the matter to rest despite requests to do so.
    In that case Horan has been handed his arse for procrastinating and avoiding the opportunity to sort this out.

    Why do any of you have sympathy for him.?

    You cannot blame Winston for acting albeit if on his own, but one suspects that their caucus will have discussed it with the outcome being a agreed conclusion. Just as the National Party did Worth’s perhaps!

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  39. Mark (1,303 comments) says:

    Horan will be a fairly lonely figure from here on in. Cannot see how any other parliamentary party would want to have a bar of him, he has no electorate or constituency so there can be no option but for him to resign, It is hard to see Winston backing away from this

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  40. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    For example:

    If one of your staff has a problem alcohol/gambling and you as an employer becomes aware of it and its not directly affecting your duties and there are no gross misconduct issues

    are you behaving as a good employer by sacking this employee without making any effort to assist or remedy or are you just being a prick and using the situation for some type of gain , political or otherwise. Because in the Horan matter I struggle to see any gross misconduct that would warrant instant dismissal.

    Personal greivance time, me thinks, Winnie might need that $158000 because even in Parliamentary Services pay him the sacking by NZF destroys his career

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  41. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Two months that Horan has been on the mat and seemingly failed to put the matter to rest despite requests to do so.
    In that case Horan has been handed his arse for procrastinating and avoiding the opportunity to sort this out.

    This kind of dispute can take a long time to sort out. Messy and involved.

    Why do any of you have sympathy for him.?

    He’s been unceremoniously dumped from a high office, based on allegations. That’s not being treated very well at all. I don’t even like the guy, having long experience of his bullshit as a young man. I played waterpolo for Glenfield for 3 years and it only began to suck when he came along. He was a byword for trouble amongst the entire waterpolo community. But finding out you’ve been hung out to dry by your supposed leader and mentor whilst reading Stuff, in Parliament where the creep can hide from the fact it might end up as slander, is pretty damned harsh.

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  42. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    Oh well, past two o’clock and I guess all the erudite – (sarcasm alert there, btw!!) – posters have turned back to their desks and got on with earning a living.

    However. Can’t let this pass unanswered: G.Edgeler posted at 1114 am: “Akaroa – you think the problem with MMP is that there is “no party discipline? Of all the voting systems we could choose between at the last election, MMP is the one with the greatest amount of party discipline”

    Well, I actually said: “No party discipline when the chips are down, no effective sanctions against maverick MPs.’, and, although i haven’t listened to any radio/TV news since 9 AM and may have missed any startling break-through in this mess, I stand by what i said. Its a hopeless electoral system, and,yes, even laughable.

    Tell me then somebody, if Mr Horan decides to carry on as an independent or loose cannon or whatever, what – I ask in all sincerity- can anyone do about it? And if no-one can do anything, isn’t that clear evidence that we have an amateurish, copy-cat, second-hand, fallible electoral system in this fair land of ours?.

    German cars? Yes. German wristwatches? Yes. German voting practices? No, no! A thousand times no!!

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  43. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    That said, I expect Peters has made the right choice, and that there is some truth in the allegations. But that’s only speculation. I was pretty surprised that the canny Peters had stood him so high in the list, he must have done absolutely no background checking on Brendan. The guy poisoned every team he got his hands on. I remember the captain of the NZ women’s team telling me about one trip to Hawaii where he managed to alienate the whole team to the point they had to vote on whether or not to go home mid-tournament. His idea of coaching was nutting off. He would never do what coaches told him, refusing to leave the pool even when he was fucking up constantly, or too tired to contribute. If he got annoyed with his team, he’d do things like throw the ball away whenever he got it. I had to feel for the Glenfield team after leaving – one of his best players actually summed up their team with “We’ve got one big black problem”. Everyone knew what he meant.

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  44. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    Re: Ben Wilson at 2.38pm.

    Ah, nothing like a bit of the old ‘Ad Hominum”, eh Ben?

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  45. Nostalgia-NZ (4,699 comments) says:

    DPF surprisingly says that Judicial Review is available to Horan?

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  46. Nostalgia-NZ (4,699 comments) says:

    V2

    Yes 2 months would have been long enough.

    I heard somebody questioning why he should be able to remain in parliament when he was a list MP, hard to argue with that.

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  47. Pete George (21,831 comments) says:

    This may not be a hanging offence but it may have helped build a bigger picture.

    Dumped MP Brendan Horan used his parliamentary phone to call a TAB phone bet number 12 times in about four hours.

    Records seen by Fairfax show Horan rang the same number on other occasions as well.

    NZ First believes he broke Parliament’s rules because parliamentary resources are only supposed to be used on parliamentary business.

    Fairfax has also been told by sources that NZ First tried to seize the MP’s laptop computer after he phoned an assistant and asked her to wipe it clean of his records.

    Horan told Fairfax he was entitled to call who he wanted but did not deny the calls to the TAB.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8036099/MP-Brendan-Horan-called-TAB-phone-bet-number

    Certainly indicates concerns in the ranks.

    There seems to be a bit of other tension floating around. Two hours ago:

    RadioLIVE Newsroom ‏@LIVENewsDesk

    Winston Peters says MP Richard Prosser is NOT backing up Brendan Horan

    And just now:

    Richard Ivor Prosser ‏@Richard_Prosser

    @GraemeEdgeler I think you will find the controversy concerns family money, not Parliamentary resources – but hey, why bother with facts?

    Difficult times for NZ First.

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  48. Viking2 (10,752 comments) says:

    Ben, surely you have added currency to my point that Horan had 2 – 3 months to sort it but didn’t s therefore essentially thumbed his nose at his leader as you described with the inevitable result.

    And no it doesn’ t take 2 months to prove your honesty sufficient that it can be either believed or more time consideration give.

    Can’t see it’s anything but guilty as charged by his actions.

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  49. Viking2 (10,752 comments) says:

    So Pete, clearly there is more to this than Horan would have us beleive.
    Another fraudster perhaps.

    Prosser is making one point in answer to another.

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  50. Rex Widerstrom (5,130 comments) says:

    Yes, Nostalgia-NZ, I was surprised at that assertion by DPF too.

    David Stevenson and I took Peters (as Leader) and Woolerton (as President) and “New Zealand First” to the High Court in 1997 seeking a review of all sorts of skullduggery, mostly but not solely around the ranking of the 1996 party list.

    Peters (who never once showed up at court, and did his usual trick of laying down in the backs of cars and being whisked out of Parliament at high speed to avoid process servers) argused that “New Zealand First” did not exist in law and thus was not subject to review.

    And indeed the High Court agreed. Political parties are not associations (unless they choose to nbe, and none do), trusts, companies or any other recognised form of entity. While there may be a “New Zealand First Inc” (and there was, at least during my time) it was a separate organisation to the party, with (IIRC) only two members – Peters and Woolerton – and existed solely to act as a repository for any real property that might need an owner.

    The things that beg for your party vote, endorse candidates and exercise undue control over what should be (but never truly can be so long as they exist) a House of Representatives have no more standing than if you and I decided to form the Foggy Bottom Tiddlywinks Club and never bothered registering it. If we later fell out over possession of the game board, you wouldn’t get far suing the “club” because the law does not recognise its existence. And since 1997 the High Court has taken the view that New Zealand First – and National and Labour for that matter – are just as ephemeral.

    So no legal existence = no body whose decision can be judicially reviewed, surely?

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  51. Rex Widerstrom (5,130 comments) says:

    From the story linked to by Pete George above:

    NZ First believes he broke Parliament’s rules because parliamentary resources are only supposed to be used on parliamentary business.

    Really, Winston? You really want to launch a debate about what’s proper use of Parliamentary resources? Really?!

    Fairfax has also been told by sources that NZ First tried to seize the MP’s laptop computer after he phoned an assistant and asked her to wipe it clean of his records.

    Seems to be SOP for NZF. They tried seizing mine but I had Parliamentary Services quarantine it till I could – in front of a witness from their IT section – delete personal items and emails. There as nothing then – and I very much doubt there is anything now – that prohibits a person from receiving or even replying to personal emails provided that it wasn’t done excessively. The only prohibitions were the typical things – no porn, no “warez” and similar dodgy things.

    I briefly wondered whether Winston had some guilty secret about internet use and assumed everyone else had too, but then I remembered that, when mocked that he wouldn’t know how to even switch on a computer, he stabbed the power switch on the monitor sitting on his desk and then tried, through sheer force of will, to make the computer come to life and do something :-D

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  52. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    So no legal existence = no body whose decision can be judicially reviewed, surely?

    The unincorporated Catholic Church has been sued.

    And if the organisation doesn’t exist, well, someone made the decision, you can judicially review them, even if you just name the members of the caucus individually.

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  53. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Ah, nothing like a bit of the old ‘Ad Hominum”, eh Ben?

    Might make sense if it was directed at a proposition, and spelled correctly? I think Horan has been unfairly treated, without knowing whether he is guilty of the allegations. But really, he is a cock, so I’m hardly surprised something like this has happened.

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  54. SPC (4,679 comments) says:

    The criticism of many is that welfare has enabled the lifestyle of those with addictions on benefits

    Now it seems that Parliamentary Services is to do the same, despite the protestations of NZ First that this should have no impact on their reputation.

    The irony is, of course, that if this government was to require the vote of Horan in place of the MP for Epsom they would take it in a heart beat.

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  55. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Tell me then somebody, if Mr Horan decides to carry on as an independent or loose cannon or whatever, what – I ask in all sincerity- can anyone do about it? And if no-one can do anything, isn’t that clear evidence that we have an amateurish, copy-cat, second-hand, fallible electoral system in this fair land of ours?.

    1. We can choose not to vote for him at the next election.
    2. We can choose not to vote for a party that is so lacklustre in its selection processes that it would select someone like that.

    And most importantly

    3. you can explain to me how any of the other voting systems would have been any different.

    Under our last first-past-the-post Parliament:

    *Peter Dunne left the Labour Party becoming an independent for a time before founding the Future New Zealand party.
    *Ross Meurant left the National Party, eventually establishing the Right of Centre party.
    *Graeme Lee left the National Party fonding a new party which eventually became the Christian Democrat Party.
    *Trevor Rogers left the National Party, and later joined Ross Meurant’s new party.
    *Margaret Austin, Bruce Cliffe, Clive Matthewson, Pauline Gardiner, Peter Hilt, and John Robertson left National or Labour and formed United with Peter Dunne.
    *Ross Meurant, who had already left National and founded Right of Centre, which had been renamed the Conservatives, left the Conservatives and become an independent again.
    *Jack Elder, from Labour Party and Peter McCardle and Michael Laws, from the National Party left to join Winston Peters and Tau Henare in New Zealand First.

    And that was First Past the Post!

    MPs left parties under first past the post about as frequently as they do under MMP, perhaps even more often. Then, as now, when the election occurred, we got the chance to do something about it.

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  56. Vinick (213 comments) says:

    Absolutely right, GE. And don’t forget Hamish McIntyre and Gilbert Myles in 1992 leaving National to form the Liberals. Of course, Myles hopped a little more after that*, but that’s a different story.

    [Nat-Ind-Lib-All-NZF]

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  57. Nostalgia-NZ (4,699 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    Surely there is a difference between a review of a Statutory Power and suing the Catholic Church?
    What Statutory Power was or could Peters exercise or fail to exercise?

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  58. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    GE: Very well said…blaming MMP is to demonstrate a lack of political knowledge, but historical and in the social science…

    John A Lee was a “rebel” Labour MP who was finally expelled in 1940…Winston Churchill “ratted and then re-ratted” as he put it, from Conservative to Liberal back to Conservative in the 1920′s….Muldoon called the 1984 snap election inter alia because he was worried Marilyn Waring (and perhaps others) would cross the floor…

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  59. Rex Widerstrom (5,130 comments) says:

    @Graeme Edgeler:

    The unincorporated Catholic Church has been sued.

    Thanks, you’ve just confirmed my belief that David Stevenson and I had particularly gutless (or incompetent, but I suspect the former) lawyers.

    I was all for having Peters, Woolerton, Lhaws, Neems et al sued personally but as soon as the court decided “New Zealand First” did not exist in law (which in itself I found a difficult decision to understand) they turned to water and wanted to drop the whole thing. And since we weren’t paying the full cost we couldn’t insist.

    I do hope Mr Horan has better luck.

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  60. Reid (15,626 comments) says:

    Ben @ 2:38, thanks for that.

    A person’s character is well formed when at High School and if they act that extreme at that age, you know it’s an ingrained trait. Always useful to know that stuff.

    Combine this with his half-brother who destroys his own brother’s career and career prospects in NZ for the foreseeable future and you have an interesting set of characters in that family, don’t you.

    I do feel sympathy for Horan, he’s obviously addicted. It’s not an excuse but it’s an explanation and all of us are sometimes weak and do stupid things. It’s a classic family matter and should have remained private. I wonder if the reason Winston kept it quiet is because he hoped Brendan would resolve it quietly and things would move on. In that he wasn’t doing it as some claim, for venal reasons but more for Brendan’s sake?

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  61. Dave Mann (1,127 comments) says:

    DPF…. I Really must congratulate you on your analysis of this Horan affair and your detailing of the relevant rules, laws and so on.

    I think that readers of this blog must be the most politically informed group of people in the country (despite dome of our obvious biases and manias :D) and for this I thank you. I’m sure none of the MSM have the intelligence and knowledge to do this – maybe talkback radio, but certainly not TV, that’s for sure. Cheers!

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  62. kiwi in america (2,336 comments) says:

    Horan likely crossed Peters somehow and since Ben Wilson has told us what a prat Horan can be, pitting Horan’s ego against Winston’s was likely to end in tears. Most MPs have some dirty laundry and habits that, if they came to light, could be easily presented publicly in a more damaging light. One would assume that Peters did at least some cursory due dilgence on Horan before ranking him so high on the NZF list. These messy fights over money are common and get worse when the primary asset owner is dying. We had sorted out my mother’s affairs pretty tightly before she died but that didn’t stop a drug addicted sibling from trying to upset the arrangements in her will.

    Peters acted pretty capriciously even by his low standards. It would be interesting to see the evidence he claims he relied on when he made his personal statement to the House. Usually when your case is pretty cut and dried you don’t need to hide under Parliamentary Privilege. Furthermore, when your case is definitive you don’t have to leak silly titbits to the media about Horan’s laptop in an attempt to further blacken his name. Perhaps Winston just had a few too many whiskeys over lunch on the day he made his decision.

    Time will tell. But one thing is for certain – only the lawyers will come out smelling like roses. Horan will be getting plenty of Winston dirt from a range of people who he has pissed off and crossed over the years (as Rex has been alluding to). There will be plenty of popcorn moments to follow I’d imagine.

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