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Horan has no moral grounds to stay

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, December 5th, 2012 - 56 comments
Categories: john key, richard worth - Tags:

Brendan Horan has been booted out of New Zealand First’s caucus over the scandal involving his late mother’s estate. Legally, he can now remain on in Parliament as an independent MP, or join another party. But he ought not. He has no claim to represent anyone but those who party voted NZF, and if he can’t represent them, he must let the next person on the list do so. For him to hang around for 2 years on a taxpayer salary is untenable.

Plus, he wouldn’t want to force Peters to release the personal stuff.

[Update: looks like the personal stuff is starting to come out – Horan’s use of his work phone to place TAB bets, lots of them in rapid succession]

56 comments on “Horan has no moral grounds to stay”

  1. karol 1

    I am surprised a list MP can legally stay after been booted by his party.  My guess is Horan won’t resign immediately as it would look like an admission of guilt, and he is so far pleading innocent:
     

    “Whether or not that information is true and whether it would stand up in a courtroom is another matter, but obviously it stood up in Mr Peters’ courtroom.’

    He said Mr Horan was feeling “understandably combative” but he was aware he came in as a NZ First list MP and that may influence his ultimate decision.

    Leaving Parliament now, simply because Mr Peters said so, could be seen as an admission of wrongdoing or guilt and Mr Horan insisted he had done nothing wrong. ” He’s saying ‘I’m not leaving Parliament, I don’t care what Winston Peters says. He can judge me. I’d rather be judged by people that have all the information.” 

  2. This issue has been around for a while.  Certainly where a list MP gets excluded they should be outski.

    The issue will always be what if they have done nothing wrong but become unpopular because they stick to election policy against the wishes of the majority.

    One option could be to require a unanimous vote of the remaining caucus members before their office could be terminated. 

    • I have to disagree with that too.

      There should be a certain amount of incentive to get the list right the first time, to develop an ideology and team that is cohesive and loyal.

    • Pete 2.2

      In this instance I believe Horan should go, but I am uncomfortable with the idea in general terms that a list MP should be expelled from Parliament if they leave their party. It may be that they leave their party out of a matter of principle and I don’t think it’s appropriate to penalise an act of conscience.

      The worst case scenario is that a government loses confidence and supply, triggering an election. I would trust an MP would weigh that in his or her mind before making a decision to go, but whatever compells an MP to depart from their party would probably be an issue to go to the country on.

      Further, the threat of expulsion from Parliament would be too big a stick in the hands of party whips and leaders, I think it’s inappropriate to cow a caucus into a group of yes-men.

      • Populuxe1 2.2.1

        An MP is elected as representing his or her party. If they are no longer of the party then they no longer have the mandate under which they were elected – especially if they’re a list MP.

        • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.1

          What a load of tosh.

          Nothing faintly resembling that in the electoral act.

          • Populuxe1 2.2.1.1.1

            I didn’t say it was, I was speaking of ethical principle. However 55/1/d of the Electoral Act 1993 likely applies.

    • liberty 2.3

      A list MP should resign if he loses the support of his party.
      But this case is different.
      The MP has been unilaterally sacked from the party without the opportunity
      To defend himself.
      He may or may not be as guilty as sin.
      He still has the right to explain his side of the story.
      To sack someone under parliamentary privilege is also abhorrent.
      Many employer has been forced to spend large amounts to get rid
      Of dip stick staff.
      While this labour/NZfirst MP puts himself above the law.
      With the abuse of parliamentary privilege.
      Then there was the case of the then labour Mp Mr Field.
      Guilty as sin. Why wasn’t he sacked on the spot.
      Because it was politically expedient to keep him.

  3. kea 3

    What happened to the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty ?

    • deuto 3.1

      Exactly, Kea.

      I personally felt very uncomfortable in that regard when watching Peters’ statement in the House yesterday afternoon. Not only was there no presumption of innocent until found guilty by a court of law, but there appeared to have been no opportunity given to Horan to present his side prior to the decision to expel him from the NZF caucus.

      Indeed, Peters stated that the information leading to the decision to expel had only just been received, some as recently as 2.15pm that afternoon – in other words while Peters and other members of the NZF were in the House for Question Time!

      Regardless of the facts of the situation – and I am currently completely neutral on that and feel a bit of a voyeur into private matters that are none of my business – it all seemed a bit too hasty to me.

      On this score, Scott Yorke at IF has a post quoting the NZF constitutional rules with some interesting comments from Geddis and Edgeler at

      http://www.imperatorfish.com/2012/12/even-king-must-follow-rules.html

      If you didn’t manage to read that before falling asleep, let me summarise in a few words the critical points. NZ First’s board can act on a complaint about a member, or act on its own initiative in the event it thinks a member has been naughty. But in either case it must convene a hearing, and the member concerned is entitled to be present.

      (Ignore for a moment some of the ropey drafting of this rule, because I think the intent of the rule is pretty clear)

      I’m going to assume there hasn’t been a hearing by NZ First’s board, because I’m sure someone would have mentioned a hearing if one had taken place, and I’m also going to assume from Horan’s defiant statements that he hasn’t resigned as a member. And while his future plans are unclear, he hasn’t to my knowledge joined another party.

      So Horan’s still a member of NZ First, and not even King Winston can decree otherwise.

      Things could get interesting!

      • Jackal 3.1.1

        …but there appeared to have been no opportunity given to Horan to present his side prior to the decision to expel him from the NZF caucus.

        I don’t think that’s correct dueto… Peters gave Horan every opportunity to provide information to him to base a decision on. Peters also had to make a decision about this, and it turned out that the information provided by Mana Ormsby was compelling enough for Horan to be expelled from NZ First.

        I’ve written further to point out that Scott Yorke and the ever deluded David Farrar (who has simply copied the Imperator Fish post), are both wrong!

      • Crashcart 3.1.2

        Peter’s spent a hell of a long time hammering Key about how it didn’t matter if what John Banks did was illegal he should be stood down because of how it looked. Peters had very little option but to respond the way he did once he felt it looked bad.

        Many posters here hammered Key for settting the standard of “He hasn’t been felt guilty of a crime” it hardley seems fair to have a go at Peter’s for setting higher standards of what he expects from his MP’s.

        • Pascal's bookie 3.1.2.1

          I don’t think many have problems with Peters kicking him out of caucus, or getting things rolling re kicking him right out of the party. the point of dispute is more about whether or not a party leader has the right to demand that a duly elected MP be kicked out of parliament.

          I hold no candle for Richard Worth, for example, but that doen’t mean I’m comfortable that he was driven from parliament and we still don’t know why.

    • Lightly 3.2

      That’s a criminal law test. This isn’t an issue of criminal law. Moreover, Peters did wait until he had evidence that, to his mind, proved Horan was unfit to be an NZF MP.

      • Populuxe1 3.2.1

        Indeed. Criminality is irrelevant, the point is whether the party had been dragged into disrepute in the eyes of its supporters.

  4. Olwyn 4

    I do not see anything wrong with his being stood down until such time as he is shown to be innocent or guilty of the charges against him, and returned to the fold if he turns out to be innocent. At the very least, there needs to be more to firing a list MP than the leader saying he no longer has confidence in him.

  5. Matthew 5

    I must admit i was shocked that a list MP is able to keep his seat when expelled by the party. I had to have it explained to me that the ‘waka-jumping’ legislation expired in 2001 or thereabouts.
    That seat belongs to NZF, & Horan should go. Whether a party gets the list right the first time is irrelevant, especially in circumstances of behaviour improper of an MP. NZF are entitled to x amount of MP’s & not a single person voted for “Horan, Brendan”
    If I had realised it was still possible to do what Horan is doing, I would have made a submission to the Select committee recommending this area be tightened up. Sorry folks, my bad.

    • felix 5.1

      “not a single person voted for “Horan, Brendan””

      What do you think people are voting for when they cast a list vote if not for the people on the list?

      • higherstandard 5.1.1

        A logo and a pending broken promise.

      • Binders full of women 5.1.2

        Agreed Felix. Knowing a little about him was enough turn-off to not list vote NZF. I for one look at lists and avoid people like Horan and Delahunty.

    • higherstandard 5.2

      Quite right Matthew the populace should just vote for a party and let the party choose which ever hack and trougher they want on their list.

    • Steve Wrathall 5.3

      “…not a single person voted for “Horan, Brendan””

      Actually 4611 people voted for “Horan, Brendan” in Tauranga, against zero for “Peters, Winston” who stood nowhere.

  6. vto 6

    this is a wee reminder of how Winston Bjeikle-Peters conducts himself.

    He simply cannot be trusted. His word cannot be trusted. He cannot be trusted to follow basic principles of fairness and law (innocent until proved guilty).

    This is what will happen if he becomes a member of another government again and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.

    • higherstandard 6.1

      Yet if national or labour need him to form a government you can be assured they will fellate him within an inch of his life and the partisans will cheer them on, ho hum nothing really changes in Wellington, twas a pity the CCH earthquake didn’t strike under the beehive while it was in session.

    • Populuxe1 6.2

      Oh hahahaha that’s funny – what politician can?

  7. Skinny 7

    By the looks of it this is a breech of NZ First’s own constitutional rules. What’s happened to the ‘principles of natural justice.’ appears a tad dictatorial of Peters. What didn’t he like being challenged on this and possibly being threatened with litigation. Can hardly blame Horan on some of these matters.

    • Lightly 7.1

      it was a unanimous vote by the rest of NZF’s caucus.

      • deuto 7.1.1

        Do you have a link to this?

        I have rechecked Peters’ statement in the House yesterday and can find no reference to it being an “unanimous vote by the rest of NZF’s caucus”.

        Also, if IF’s quoting of the NZF Constitution is correct in his website post (link at 3.1 above), then termination is not the decision of the caucus – it is the decision of the NZF Board in accordance with the process set out in the Constitution. This requires a formal meeting of the Board and 14 days for the person concerned to respond.

        • Jackal 7.1.1.1

          Do you have a link to them not having a meeting dueto? I mean honestly! It would stand to reason that there was a meeting to discus Horans future within the party. Winston Peters would be well versed in the rules of his own party, in fact he probably wrote those rules lots of people are claiming haven’t been adhered to despite a complete lack of evidence for them to base their claims on. Horan claiming that he wasn’t given an opportunity to respond is simply wrong!

  8. Akldnut 8

    2 Common sense things
    1. That Horan should be stood down pending a review of the situation and going through all the appropriate procedures before being sacked.

    No more or less than Clark did for Peters.

    2. Horan’s ticket into parliament was as a NZ First list MP, the seat belongs to the Party so unless voted in as an electorate MP or he leaves /is shoved out of caucus – the seat stays with the party.

    • karol 8.1

      keep a clean nose
      watch the plain clothes
      you don’t need to be a weatherman
      to know which way the wind blows. 

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      2. Horan’s ticket into parliament was as a NZ First list MP, the seat belongs to the Party so unless voted in as an electorate MP or he leaves /is shoved out of caucus – the seat stays with the party.

      This doesn’t strike me as common sense at all.

      His ‘ticket’ into parliament was the votes that were received for the list that he was on. The list was a list of names, in order. that list of people was what the votes were for. The number of votes NZF got, dictated that Horan was elected. That same number of votes determined that the next person on NZF’s list was not elected.

      It’s no more common sense to say that ‘Horan must go’, than it is to say that ‘the next person on the list mustn’t be installed’.

      So common sense can go fuck itself, and we’ll look at the electoral law; which says that candidates from the list, are elected via the list. That is, they are elected MPs in their own right, the seat is theirs, not the party’s. Just as with MPs who are elected via the fpp electorate seats.

      There is nothing magical about being an electorate mp. Why is it that independent MPs don’t win electorate seats? Because voters vote to be represented by a candidate endorsed by a party, that’s why. The idea that electorate mps are not ‘appointed’ by the party, is no more bizarre than the same idea for list mps, so why the difference?

      • Crashcart 8.2.1

        I’m sorry but people keep saying that you vote for the list and I call bullshit. The parties put PARTY vote on all their bill boards. It is always talk about as the split between electorate and PARTY vote. Yes by the letter of the law you publish a list and people party vote based on the contents of that list. However here in the real world the majority of people PARTY vote based on the policies of the PARTY, not an individual list member.

        • Akldnut 8.2.1.1

          I vote party vote not for a person in particular, that person is only on there thru a party list not thru anything that is special about his seat.

          I say crap to a list MP walking away with my party vote. and of the twenty odd people I have spoken to not 1 gave their party vote for a specific person to walk away with it.

      • Populuxe1 8.2.2

        The voters voted for Horan knowing him to represent New Zealand First, and assuming him to be of good character – or at least of suitable character to represent their interests. If he fails in either regard he has lost the mandate under which he was elected and therefore doesn’t deserve his seat. How hard is that to understand?

    • burt 8.3

      No more or less than Clark did for Peters.

      I’m laughing my head off – what sort of blatant re-write of history is that !!!!! Clark protected Peters long enough to last the full term – had she hung him out when the allegations first surfaced rather than taking him at his word then his “secret donations” would have been uncovered before the statute of limitations expired on prosecution for false electoral returns …. but sure …. No less than Clark did for Peters … ha ha ha. What a muppet.

      • Akldnut 8.3.1

        That’s your feeble attempt at rewriting history Burt you moron.
        Clark stood him down while an investigation took place, which is more that he’s doing for Horan, feeble.

        • burt 8.3.1.1

          What month was that Akldnut, what month did the allegations of the donations surface ? Let me put it another way – how long did the “NO” fiasco go on for before he was stood down ?

  9. Treetop 9

    I have to give it to Winston as he has the backbone to stand a member down. When it came to Key over Banks, Key said that Banks was not in his caucus, what a lame excuse.

    Of course Banks would not stand himself down, would it then be up to the Act party to intervene re Banks?

    I think that Horan is rather quiet about the allegations and there has to be some truth in having recieved money due to the paper trail.

    Why resign when the benefits are too good to say no to. This tells me a bit about the character of Horan. If anything it appears as if morals/boundaries have been over stepped at the very least.

    • burt 9.1

      This tells me a bit about the character of Horan.

      He hasn’t sunk so low as to blatantly hold up a “NO” sign yet… He can go a lot lower and not hit the bottom in his party.

      • Treetop 9.1.1

        I disagree. The issue is between Horan and his deceased mother and the executors of the will feel as though legal action is required. Glenn was not a FRAIL woman.

  10. Skinny 10

    Well put Bookie your exactly right! Horan put a lot of hard yard campaigning for NZFirst & worked as Peters campaign man. I stand to be corrected but didn’t he  achieve the highest party vote ahead of Williams, where he stood for the list only? 
    Winston has cut quite a few MP’s before as I recall , a sign of megalomanic behavior. They guy just can’t be trusted not to throw his toys out of the cot. 

  11. BillODrees 11

    There was something about Winston’s sanctimonious, officious and moralising tone in Parliament yesterday that made me wish that Horan proves himself to be totally clean in this family estate matter.
     

  12. Skinny 12

    Horan like previous NZF MP’s before him, who buck Winston’s dictatorial system, get the bullet pure & simple. 

    BH’s egotistical streak & ambition would see him plotting to takeover from Peter’s one day. Probably causing a touch of paranoia for the ill tempered old goat. 

    So who are the other MP’s supporting a gradual step aside? which has obviously gone down like a lead ballon or more appropriately lead bullet ‘gulp.’

  13. Johan 13

    What ever happened to DUE PROCESS and NATURAL JUSTICE?
    Let’s have some clarity and have the facts presented. At the moment Peters has learned little from the past and still believes, “THIS IS MY PARTY AND I’LL DO WHAT I LIKE.”

  14. millsy 14

    Dont really blame the rednecks out there for being anti-MMP when situations like this pop up..

  15. xtasy 15

    From the start I wondered what Horan was there for, being a “list MP” for NZ First. Some may give him credit to have entered politics to contribute to society and work towards positive changes.

    Yet having watched numerous Question Time sessions, he only came across a bit convincing on questioning a government minister on the rotten sleepers that Kiwi Rail had imported from Peru and used in places.

    Otherwise, be this the “Backbenchers” program, and other “performances”, he gave me the impression of a self centred, spoilt self-serving opportunist, riding in on the back of some popularity with a fraction of the electorate for Winston Peters. Without Winston he would never have been there. He once was a weather presenter for TVNZ, knew how to sing, but what else has he done?

    I treat the allegations with great caution. I also usually would say “innocent until proven guilty”, but in this case, I am not so convinced. As a list MP Horan chose to be associated and counted with NZ First. They have their rules. And most know, NZ First is not much more that “Winston’s Party”!

    So if the party, and their caucus voted accordingly, want him out, so then he is OUT and must be OUT!

    Hanging on there as an “independent” will give him NO credit, as that gives the impression that he is rather concerned about his income situation than anything else. What does the man stand for by the way? I know not, what he really stands for. He has come across as “willy nilly”, “here there or anywhere”, and he voted also with NZ First against some bills leftists would hold high value to.

    I am surprised that some here have time for the man and want to defend him. I am also surprised about Russel Norman taking a stand.

    This shows to me: NZ First cannot and MUST NOT be taken for granted, and should NOT be part of any serious consideration for any alternative left of centre goverment for NZ. If those that count themselves to that political sector, wake up, and learn, this is very dangerous territory. Clear well off this and work on getting the bloody votes Greens, Labour, or better a NEW left party will be able to get!

  16. xtasy 16

    Now NZ First is in self mutilation mode, just as Labour has been over recent weeks.

    The opposition is as of recent showing real weakness, and I am extremely worried. There are too many incompetent, self-serving, dishonest and unworthy members amongst them, and it is now showing.

    This is serving the “credit” (albeit totally unjustified) given by the wider public right back to the rotten government!

    Shearer has proved to be a “dick-head” by demoting Cunliffe in a rushed and unreasonable manner.

    Peters has done the same by ridding his party, run primarily by himself and to his dictate, from Horan. Horan deserves to go, I still insist, but the process is not tidy.

    So the Greens are again left as the least corrupt, least questionable, least dishonest and least dysfunctional party in Parliament.

    I dislike the Greens though increasingly becoming a “Norman Party”.

    So I am back to my repeatedly stated position. NZ politics, and that is including “the left” is not up to it, is too rotten and must have a ROBUST SHAKE-UP!

    We need a NEW PARTY to the LEFT altogether, uniting all that have serious concerns for the rights of workers, beneficiaries, people as a whole, for the economic welfare of NZ, for progress in technology and society as a whole, for a healthy and truly environmentally friendly, sustainable and smart future.

    Split parties as we have it are not delivering enough to solve the issues and set a progressive, pro-creative and workable agenda.

    Get cracking, those seriously working in politics and advocacy, get together and hammer out a NEW Left Party, call it a true social democratic party of NZ or whatever, what we have is ROTTEN, is NOT going to deliver and MUST be THROWN OUT FOR GOOD!

  17. the pigman 17

    Those who argue that the vote was for NZF and not the people on the list are running an interesting line.

    Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Would you look at the candidate list before pledging your vote to MANA?

    Let’s say Sue Bradford was standing at 3 and you really wanted her in. Because Shearer is minced in debates and people don’t trust the Greens (who in 2014 are playing their ambiguous Blue-Green shade of electioneering to pick up votes from bourgeois Greenpeace donators, who are routinely egged on by their spoilt 13 year old daughters to vote Green) so MANA actually picks up enough for 3 seats. Bradford is in but, less than a year down the track, falls foul with Hone and is booted out of MANA. Do you think Sue Bradford should lose her seat? Can you honestly say that your vote belongs only to MANA and Hone is free to install whoever he likes in her seat?

  18. Te Reo Putake 18

    Two quick comments: dealing to a colleague, justified or not, = rise in polls.
     
    Ringing the TAB on a Saturday arvo? Er, SFW?

  19. tracey 19

    I’m sorry what is it he has done wrong?

    “Horan’s use of his work phone to place TAB bets, lots of them in rapid succession” – how is this related to what he is accused of?

    Peters didn’t stand down following “evidence” in the Owen Glen debacle? This smacks of major political expediency. The backbone voters for NZ First have amongst them “no smoke without fire” believers… ironically many of whom will have fought a war/s for our right to freedom including innocence til proven guilty.

    IF Peters was to do this I believe it was incumbant on him to release the information he based his decision on. Truth is a defence to defamation, sow hat was he scared of?

    I have no idea if Horan is guilty or innocent. I do know that Banks WAS GUILTY but couldn’t be charged and still sits in parliament.

    • Populuxe1 19.1

      He risks bring the party into disrepute in the eyes of the supporters – actual criminality is somewhat irrelevant. 

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