NZ First leader Winston Peters has expelled MP Brendan Horan from the NZ First caucus, saying he has no confidence in Mr Horan's ability to continue as a member of Parliament.
Mr Peters told Parliament about the decision today (Tue), saying he had seen evidence relating to allegations that money is missing from Mr Horan's late mother's account, and the allegations needed to be treated seriously. Mr Peters said he had conducted as thorough an investigation as possible into those allegations.
He earlier put Mr Horan on leave, and told him to try to clear up allegations about money going missing from his late mother's bank accounts.
Earlier today, Mr Horan's lawyers issued a statement on his behalf, saying he rejected any suggestion he had misappropriated money and was confident a full investigation would exonerate him.
The suspension does not mean Mr Horan has to leave Parliament. He can stay on as an independent MP. Mr Peters said he believed Mr Horan was honour-bound to leave Parliament altogether.
NZ First Leader Winston Peters' statement to Parliament:
"In recent weeks a number of allegations have been made against Mr Horan, most of which arise from a family matter. The allegations are of a nature that requires they be treated seriously.
Accordingly I requested from the original complainant and those associated with him evidence to support their allegations. I also instructed Mr Horan to give every opportunity to resolve this family matter so that I could be assured those allegations were without foundation.
Until a few days ago, we had not been furnished with any evidentiary material from any of the parties in this dispute. However substantive material has now come into my possession, some as recent as 2.15pm this afternoon.
The information we have received leaves me in a position where I have no confidence in Mr Horan's ability to continue as a member of Parliament, and he will be expelled from the NZ First caucus forthwith.
Mr Horan has a duty, I believe, to resign as a member of Parliament.
This is a bitterly regrettable situation but we had to place our decision on the public record as soon as we were in a position to make it.
The nature of this inquiry means I am unable to make any further comment outside of Parliament."