Bay MP's career hangs in balance

By Adam Bennett - with Amy McGillivray

NZ First list MP Brendan Horan's political career is hanging in the balance after allegations by his brother over missing money from his late mother's bank account.

The former TVNZ weatherman and swimsuit model yesterday dismissed the claims that he had anything to do with the missing money as "fantasy" - but NZ First Leader Winston Peters refused to back his MP until he had the facts of the matter.

Mr Horan's mother Olwen Horan, 87, of Mount Maunganui, died in early August about three months after signing a codicil to her will after she became concerned that money was missing from her accounts.

Mr Horan's brother Mana Ormsby said the statements showed a large number of withdrawals from TABs and from ATM machines near Mr Horan's office in Mount Maunganui, Auckland and Hamilton. They also showed numerous payments at takeaways and at video shops.

Mr Ormsby's initial investigation suggested about $85,000 was missing from his mother's bank accounts.

John Buckthought, the executor of the will, yesterday declined to comment other than to confirm forensic accountants were examining Olwen Horan's estate and that she had won about $1 million in an Australian lottery some years earlier.

The lawyer handling Mrs Horan's estate, Mark Hornabrook, also refused to comment.

Mr Ormsby said he would lay complaints with the police when the forensic accountants had completed their work.

He had spoken with NZ First Leader Winston Peters about the matter but Mr Peters told him he could not do anything "because he had not seen the bank statements".

Mr Horan said the "heartbreaking" allegations were a family matter and his mother would be "turning in her grave" if she knew what had happened after her death.

"My mother would would be so ashamed of what has transpired and I'm not prepared to bring any of my family into this.

"I've done nothing wrong and I'd rather just keep it within the family and people will see in the fullness of time that this is just a fantasy and the allegations are demonstrably false."

Mr Peters said he had "repeatedly requested facts and evidence about allegations but he had not been provided with any to date".

He said Mr Horan had been told to sort the matter out with his family.

Asked whether he was satisfied Mr Horan was an honest man Mr Peters said it was "impossible to comment without information".

"'No lawyer will comment until he's got the facts and I haven't got the facts."<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

- Bay of Plenty Times

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