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Will Brendan drop the hammer?

WINSTON'S HORROR 2014

Jan 15: An investigation clears list MP Brendan Horan of any wrongdoing in the execution of his late mother's estate. Mr Horan was expelled from NZ First by Winston Peters after allegations emerged in December 2012. 

Feb 12: Prime Minister John Key says Peters has had three secret visits with Kim Dotcom. Peters says a report on Key's claim is a "crock of crap". 

Feb 13: Kim Dotcom confirms he has met with Peters on three occasions. Peters concedes the pair did meet, but says the PM was claiming three visits in the past year, when in fact the three visits were over a two-year period.

Feb 22: Peters says during his state-of-the-nation speech,  “While you’re here media, let me tell you something, Huka Lodge has just been sold to the Chinese … and I want you to go and ask John Key what role you had in this? Was it not true, Mr Key, that you assured them `there won’t be a problem, we’ll smooth it out for you’.” The Office of Overseas Investment says there has been no application to buy property. It emerges that the Lodge's long-time owner is already a non-NZ resident, albeit Dutch rather than Chinese.

May 12: After promising new information that will see Judith Collins "gone by Monday," a slurring Peters uses Question Time to accuse the Justice Minister of a technical breach of her obligations under to the Register of MPs' Pecuniary Interests. The accusation falls flat

May 14: Horan says Peters failed to declare a financial interest in racehorse Bellazeel to the MPs' Register.


Affable TVNZ presenter turned failed MP Brendan Horan could hold the country's fate in his hands — or at least the outcome of the next election.

Mr Horan tells NBR he's still trying to decide whether to push ahead with a complaint over Winston Peters' apparent failure to disclose his financial interest in racehorse Bellazeel.

Having called for Judith Collins's head for failing to fully comply with her obligations under the Register of MPs' Pecuniary Interests, it would be untenable for Mr Peters to stay on if  found to have committed the same offence (in reality, of course, Mr Peters would claim conspiracy or some other excuse, but the embarrassment and awkwardness could well push his party under the 5% threshold).

Registrar Sir Maarten Wevers, who oversees the registry of MP's financial interests, says he cannot look into the matter of his own account. Standing Orders require a formal complaint to be made by an MP.

And Mr Horan is the only one likely to lay the potentially career-ending complaint.

Other parties are too wary that Winston Peters could play a kingmaker role after the next election. When it come down to it, even National — which has been so mocking over the NZ First leader's recent fumbles — won't rule out holding its nose and working with NZ First. Such is life under MMP where, even with its huge lead and the opposition flailing, the most upbeat poll gives National only a razor thin majority if an election was held tomorrow. (Of course, there are policy differences between National and NZ First. But the party that's flexible enough to put Kiwi vs iwi billboards behind it ally with the Maori Party could easily overcome NZ First's objection to asset sales. Get Winston's support on confidence and supply and give him a ministerial portfolio outside cabinet and bob's your uncle).

So: it come down to Brendan.

Worth a nosey
And on the face of things, there's a pretty good case for Sir Maarten to at least have a poke around.

Mr Peters has defended his non-disclosure, saying his interest in the racehorse was a small, short-term syndicated lease, purchased in a charity auction in 2008. The NZ First leader says the lease has since expired and Bellazeel — sired by famous racehorse Zabeel — is no longer running.

According to TVNZ's report, Mr Peters told reporters earlier this week, "I did have an ownership for a short time but it's been out to pasture for years."

Yet NZ Racing records that Bellazeel raced as recently as January. 

In fact, the five-year-old bay mare — sired by the famous Zabeel — has had quite a chipper time of it over the past few months, with two wins and a third from seven starts in the 2013/14 season, earning prize-money of $20,175.

In all, Bellazeel has raced 15 times and won three races, winning $31,575.

And Mr Peters has been fuzzy on timing, his exit from the syndicate is presumably a recent development; NZ Racing still lists him as a co-owner.

What's holding him back?
So what's stopping Mr Horan pushing ahead with a complaint?

The ex-NZ First list MP wants to form his own party, New Zealand Independent Coalition, and this is just the sort of crusade that would give him a shot.

On Thursday, it seems the independent MP over-reached.

He went on Radio NZ and, in a live interview, made new accusations against Mr Peters regarding consultants and spending. 

Mr Peters turned his lawyers on RNZ.

The state broadcaster posted an apology to its website the same day, which it also read out multiple times on air.

Having taken his attack a step too far, Mr Horan now seems to have over-compensated in the other direction.

Will he remained cowered, and let his his Bellazeel accusation wither?

Or will he seize back the initiative, and reanimate his political career by laying a complaint with Sir Maarten?

NBR is giving him the weekend to gather his thoughts, then we're going to check back in Monday morning.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

What do you think? Should Horan press ahead with a Parliamentary complaint about Peters' failure to declare his interest in a racehorse syndicate?  Click here to vote in our subscriber-only Business Pulse poll.

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Comments and questions
22

Go get em!! Release the hounds.

Brendan pull back the curtains and let the sun shine in.You have nothing to lose.Looking forward to you getting some much needed publicity for your cause.Tell us the whole story,which you tried to tell us on that radio station the other morning.You know what happens when good men say and do nothing about somethings, that have to be said.

As of yesterday one W Peters was still listed as a part owner of this said horse, if you contact one Rodger James the trainer of this horse, he will/should disclose who pays for the expenses for the W Peters shareholding, as they are not cheap to have on your books at about $75 per day, just for the training fees only plus all of the add on's
I also noted that the one W Peters was at the Karaka sales, now does he just go there to be seen?? or to scratch his backside??

Did Winston even know the horse was still racing?. Had he had any financial payback at all over the last financial year or been involved in its racing events?

Isn't the public pretty fed up with tittle-tattle that has little to do with the pressing issues facing NZers- and the mischief-making too often distracting from these?

And is it still too often an issue of iwi versus Kiwi- (very much accommodated by the National Party) where Winston has long expressed concern about what's been happening?

Well said inclined to agree as it deflects from the real issues.....most likely the strategy for the Government under fire!

Inclined to agree.....I think Brendan may well have a horse of his own .....a Trojan Horse.

Not knowing one's horse is still racing would require so little cognisance of reality that it would disqualify one from being allowed to live in the community unsupervised, never mind holding public office.

Feel the fear?

Poor old Cassandra & Winnie. First Winnie fired blanks after promising a one kill gunshot and then, he is (again) found to be hypocritical again!

Owen Glenn, Vella Brothers, Huka Lodge and Kim Dotcom - all over again!

Lesson for you - stick to the truth because nobody can cage you when you always stick with the truth.

If this is the case then Peters should lead by example shouldn't he!!!!!

MMP is getting very tiresome.

Of course the left would want this to die down. Just like how they respected the difference between reality and perception with Judith Collins and left her alone! Not.

The public is indeed sick of this stuff. But only because the left and Peters have played it out so far and for so long. An own goal was bound to happen eventually. Let's see how they defend this.

Brendan please, please take the shot.

Will Brendan drop the hammer?

This whole sorry saga reminds me of a scene from 'The Three Stooges', where Larry says to Moe, "When I nod my head, you hit it."

Whined so unfair when got nailed politically

Show you could be a politician by manning up ....................otherwise fade away forever

Winston Peters unfairly ended Brendon Horan's political career based on what appears to be allegations that turned out, after investigation, to be not correct. He didn't even give Brendon the benefit of the doubt by keeping him on the back burner until the investigation had been conducted. Instead he flung him out of NZ First like a stale pot of last week's leftovers.

What comes around goes around. Brendon now has the chance for some utu and to give Winston his just deserts. If he has something on Peters, the country needs to know about it, and he should tell us all about it, bit by bit, but only in the House, not outside of it. Maybe he should have a chat with an experienced practitioner for some ideas on how best to go about it? Murray McCully springs to mind, John Banks. Judith Collins?

I find it difficult to believe that anyone can take Winston seriously. He's simply a muckraker who has got away with far too much over the years. He does need to be put in his place, so go to it Brendan. Good luck.

I am not sure if this is a legal requirement or just a customary requirement but I would expect that the Register of MPs' Pecuniary Interests should have a requirement to investigate if he has sufficient knowledge or reason to think something has not been done according to the rules.

Otherwise what is the point of the position. It moves this function down to a MP "tell tails" game.

Yes, Brendan "will drop the hammer", right on his big toe. All pain aside, there is something very 'Greek' to his fall from political favour. And I'm not talking about 'tragic', either. Here is someone, who hopes to revive his political fortunes, rising like a phoenix from the ashes, by incinerating his former political bedmate.

How does actively setting out to destroy Peters, enhance Horan's own prospects for staying on as an MP beyond September; yet alone, credential him to form his own party?

There will be political resurrection of mythological proportions for Brendan Horan. He is Judas, cut from the same soiled cloth as his nemesis. With him and Peters, deserving of each other in the betrayal and treachery stakes.

This may be the last straw for Winston's mob - just as it was in 2008 when he was booted out for his hypocrisy.

Just wondering if he will bring out a 'Yes' sign this time, rather than the 'No'.

Go for it, Brendan. Mr Peters' vanity and stupidity have held New Zealand to ransom too often and for far too long. You owe this good deed to your countrymen, irrespective of your own political future.

Well said. Winston is not a fool and the man in the street may well think something must have happened for him to drop Brendon Horan.

Petty revenge is not a good look - and there's too much spite around this whole issue.

Some may regard Justice For All's baying for blood as rather repugnant. Gloating is never attractive.

The whole affair seems as involved and compex as the Winston accusations over the Fay Richwhite windbox and the wine,film and racehorse syndicated which were in fact an intelligent way of making money and financing films, racing and winery developments in the Muldoon micro managed economy. I am doubtful if anyone will be anymore interested in penetrating the intricacies of the current Horan accusations.
What is interesting is to speculate why on earth Horan was in politics , his only interest seemed in chasing the 4 and 2 legged fillies and like Enzo Ferrari with his drivers , Winston was obviously following his progress with interest. In the recent past half the MPs, and Cabinet in the US, Australia and UK devoted themselves to night time pursuit of recreational sex as much as sportsman particularly top racing drivers and rock stars. However most were equally devoted to the political action and excitement or real sport. Horan seems to only have been interested in the 2 and 4 legged fillies.

Go for it Brendon. Remember the old saying about he who laughs last.