NZ First leader Winston Peters says if dumped MP Brendan Horan is later exonerated he will have to admit he acted too early, but says he was confident about his decision and has not considered whether he would allow Mr Horan back.
Speaking to RadioLive today, Mr Peters said he had made the decision based on evidence he believed left him with no choice but to expel Mr Horan. Mr Horan continued to maintain today he had done nothing wrong and rejected allegations he had a gambling addiction and that he took money from his late mother,
Asked whether he would look foolish if Mr Horan was later cleared on all counts, Mr Peters said of course he would.
"If he's exonerated and proven to be not guilty of any wrongdoing, then I will have been precipitate and wrong in my judgement. It goes with the territory. If that is the outcome, that is what I will have to admit. But I'm not in any way phased or concerned about the judgement I've made."
He would not say whether he would take Mr Horan back if that was the case, saying ''in this case, getting it wrong is not in my mental consideration."
"If Brendan thinks he's done no wrong, he doesn't know what the word 'wrong' means."
Mr Peters again refused to talk about the information he had seen or whether he believed Mr Horan should face legal action. He rejected claims he had not shown natural justice to Mr Horan, saying Mr Horan had been privy to the same information Mr Peters had seen.
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 APNZBy John Armstrong Email John, Adam Bennett Email Adam, Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH Email Claire