The expulsion of Brendan Horan from the New Zealand First caucus has sparked debate about whether the under-fire MP has been treated fairly.
It's been a grim few weeks in politics for the MP since the revelation that forensic accountants had been called in to investigate Mr Horan's mother's estate after allegations from his brother, Mana Ormsby, that about $85,000 is missing from bank accounts.
Mr Ormsby alleges the bank statements showed a large number of withdrawals from TABs and ATM machines near Mr Horan's office in Mount Maunganui, Auckland and Hamilton. They also allegedly show numerous payments at takeaways and video shops.
Mr Horan's mother, Olwen Horan, 87, of Mount Maunganui, died in early August. But she had signed a codicil to her will after becoming concerned that money was missing from her accounts.
The MP denied wrongdoing and has refused to step down.
Do you think the expulsion of Brendan Horan came too quickly?
But his leader, political veteran Winston Peters, refused to express confidence and last week sent him home.
Mr Peters went a step further this week and expelled Mr Horan from the party. He said phone records that emerged showing Mr Horan used a parliamentary funded cellphone to call a betting service were proof the MP was not fit to be a member of the party.
The questions that arise are: Did the New Zealand First leader act too quickly? Should he have sole authority to expel someone from Parliament? Should that be a decision for the voters?
Obviously, Mr Peters believes he has enough information to make the decision.
He says he has acted in the interests of Parliament, the nation and his party but as yet nothing has been proven against the Tauranga list MP.
Mr Horan, it appears, has been kicked out of the party on the basis of an unproven allegation.
Mr Horan should have stood down immediately until the matter was resolved. Mr Peter's initial response of sending him home left room for a return should the allegations amount to nothing.
By expelling him this week, Mr Peters has cast him out for good.
If Mr Horan is found to have done nothing wrong, then he still faces the problem in that he was voted in as a list MP. If he is no longer part of the party he was voted in to represent then there are questions about his position in Parliament if he elects to stay on and an independent MP. This, in turn, raises serious questions about the MMP system.
If he is guilty of serious wrongdoing, then, as we have said, his political career has to be over.