Dec 4 (BusinessDesk) - 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 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's 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's 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.