Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

United Future loses party funding

United Future leader Peter Dunne. Photo / Sarah Ivey
United Future leader Peter Dunne. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Speaker David Carter has ruled that Peter Dunne's United Party will lose more than $180,000 in extra party funding and Mr Dunne is effectively an Independent MP, at least until he can re-register his party.

Mr Carter issued his decision today, saying he could no longer recognise United Future as a Parliamentary Party because of its lack of registration with the Electoral Commission, but said he would re-visit that decision if United Future did register again.

He also called a review of Parliament's rules, saying they did not include any specific provisions to deal with situations such as United Future's in which the party was registered when the MP was elected but later de-registered.

Earlier this month he had allowed Mr Dunne to retain his funding for 6-8 weeks to allow time for United Future to re-register. However, that has been delayed because of the requirement United Future provide signed evidence of 500 members.

Mr Dunne's salary will be about $13,900 less if he is no longer considered a party leader. Instead, he will drop to the ordinary backbench MP salary of $141,800 a year. He will also lose about $185,000 in annual funding to pay for his party's operations, such as research and communications.

Mr Dunne said he accepted the Speaker's decision to suspend the funding.

"I think the Speaker had no credible alternative, given the intransigent attitude of the Electoral Commission to UnitedFuture's re-registration process.''

He expected United Future to be re-registered "in the next few weeks'' and would discuss it with the Speaker again at that point.

- APNZ

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