Horan explusion: Peters had 'no option'

By Adam Bennett, John Armstrong

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Winston Peters says he had 'no option' but to expel MP Brendan Horan, who continues to deny he has a gambling problem.


Mr Peters told Radio LIVE this afternoon he has more information on Mr Horan than his lawyer, Paul Mabey, QC, has - which gave him "no option'' but to expel the MP.


Mr Peters said he had been approached by Mr Mabey to provide him with the information.


"Sorry, he can go and ask his client. His client was always privy to this information from the word go.''


Mr Peters said if Mr Horan believed he had done no wrong, then "he doesn't know what the word wrong means''.


He would not say what the information was, nor whether he believed Mr Horan was morally or legally wrong.


"All I'm saying is I acted because I believed I had to, in the public interest, in the interest of Parliament and last in the interest of the people who voted for us.


"I was left with no options. I went out and found the evidence because it was not being made available to me, and when I was certain of it, I acted on it.''


He would not say whether he would take Mr Horan back if he was proven innocent.


Meanwhile, calls from the parliamentary funded cellphone of Mr Horan included eleven to an Auckland TAB number in the space of four days, according to phone records seen by the NZ Herald.


But Mr Horan, who returned to Parliament in defiance of Mr Peters call for him to resign his place, says he was entitled to call whoever he liked with that phone and he denied allegations he has a gambling problem.


The Herald has seen a single page of Mr Horan's parliamentary cellphone records which include eleven calls to an Auckland TAB number between April 3 and April 7 this year.


But Mr Horan this afternoon told the Herald there was no restriction on parliamentary phones, saying "you can call who you want to call."


 


While Mr Horan has acknowledged he does bet on horses, he said claims his gambling was out control were untrue.


"There are all sorts of wild allegations being bandied about. I'm not prepared to have to stand here and defend every allegation that comes along. I do not have a gambling problem. It's a simple as that.


"This is just a witch hunt. I've been accused of everything. I'm surprised December 25 is still on the calendar."


After telling the Herald last night he would return to Parliament, Mr Horan this morning attended a closed session of the Maori Affairs select committee.


The Herald understands Mr Horan was barred from his former NZ First office this morning.


Following talks with the Clerk of Parliament and Speaker Lockwood Smith he was shown to a new office in the old Parliament building.


It is thought he also discussed seating arrangements in the House and staffing and funding.


Questions in the House and speaking slots in some debates are awarded on the basis of proportionality and New Zealand First can expect to lose some of its entitlements.


Taxpayer funding for the party will also be affected.


He told the Herald his plan was "to try and be as effective an MP as possible now I'm an independent MP and my values haven't changed".


Mr Horan has been absent for the past 10 days under the advice of former leader Winston Peters after claims he owed his mother's estate money.


Mr Peters has called for him to resign from Parliament altogether but he has vowed to stay on.


- additional reporting APNZ


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