Horan admits 144 TAB calls
Monday 10 Dec 2012 2:36 p.m.
Mr Horan was expelled from the NZ First caucus last week after party leader Winston Peters said he no longer had confidence in the MP
Sacked MP Brendan Horan has admitted making more than 140 calls from his Parliament cell phone to TAB betting numbers.
Mr Horan was expelled from the NZ First caucus last week after party leader Winston Peters said he no longer had confidence in the MP, who is embroiled in a family dispute over allegations money was misappropriated from his mother's account before she died in August.
He told RadioLIVE today he made 144 calls to the TAB over 10 months, and said most of them were made while he was with his mother.
"We would be watching television and she would say `I like that one' and it was great fun," he said.
Mr Horan says there was nothing wrong with using his Parliament cell phone to make the calls, and he has denied having a gambling problem.
His decision to stay on as an independent has raised debate about whether Parliament should consider fresh "waka-jumping" legislation to stop list MPs keeping their seats when they leave the party on whose ticket they were elected.
There is no requirement for an MP to leave Parliament unless they are found to have broken certain laws, including being convicted of a crime that carries a prison sentence of two years or more, or being convicted of corruption.
Prime Minister John Key said today if Mr Horan had "done something really bad" he should leave Parliament of his own accord.
He says Parliament might look at the issue again and decide to put a law in place.
Mr Key says the onus is on Mr Peters to prove his case for expelling Mr Horan.
"Mr Peters did it under Parliamentary privilege so he couldn't be sued - that's not always the actions of somebody who is absolutely sure that their position is right."
NZ First's board will hold a scheduled meeting tonight and is expected to discuss Mr Horan's status, as he remains a party member despite being expelled from caucus.
He is due back in Parliament tomorrow after Speaker Lockwood Smith last week granted him two days' leave.