Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

United Future could lose privileges after de-registration

Peter Dunne. Photo / NZPA
Peter Dunne. Photo / NZPA

The Speaker is investigating whether United Future should lose its privileges after it was de-registered last week.

The party's registration was cancelled because it did not have the required 500 financial members.

Speaker David Carter told the House this afternoon that he had written to United Future leader Peter Dunne regarding his party's registration.

He said he would wait for a response before considering any action.

Mr Carter said that when public funds were involved, transparency and accountability was important.

"There needs to be some certainty about the arrangements behind a party that seeks to be recognised for Parliamentary purposes.''

Mr Dunne said that he was determined to re-register United Future as soon as possible.

He said the party had more than 500 members, but it needed to be able to verify of all them before seeking to be registered again.

The cancellation of the party's registration did not affect Mr Dunne's standing as an MP, but it could lead to him losing his parliamentary resources.

As a party leader, Mr Dunne qualifies for an extra $100,000 a year to fund his work as leader, and $22,000 for research.

Earlier today, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters again used parliamentary privilege to grill Mr Dunne on leaking official documents.

In a select committee discussion on student loans this morning, Mr Peters asked Mr Dunne, the Revenue Minister, whether the Inland Revenue Department prioritised and enforced privacy.

"Would any leak that [came] from the department be seriously investigated?" Mr Peters asked.

Mr Dunne said that the IRD had not dealt with any leaks of information, but if it did, it would be rigorously investigated.

He said that Mr Peters' questions about leaking information to the media were "speculation".

"I can assure you that I have never, ever released any information relating to any taxpayer in any situation."

Committee chair Sam Lotu-Iiga repeatedly urged Mr Peters to ask questions that were relevant to the discussion on student loans.

Mr Dunne invited Mr Peters to provide evidence of his allegations.

After the committee, Mr Dunne told media that he was not aware of any leaks at the IRD and he "had no idea" about Mr Peters' allegations.

Mr Peters has repeatedly accused Mr Dunne of leaking the Kitteridge report on the GCSB in the House and in select committees.

The report revealed more than 80 instances of potentially illegal spying on New Zealanders by the Government agency.

- NZ Herald

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