Brendan Horan blasts NZ First

Independent MP Brendan Horan, who was ejected from NZ First by Winston Peters, fought back against his old party in his opening speech in Parliament on Tuesday.

I take this moment to thank New Zealand First, because there is no way I would be able to stand here and speak on democracy, to talk about true, inclusive democracy, if I had not been so undemocratically dumped by the New Zealand First party.

It is a tragedy of our political system that such a party can be captured by one man who did not even stand in an electorate. I can hear the cult screaming now “But we voted for him.” But what of those people who voted for the principles of New Zealand First, which includes an MP’s first duty being to the people of New Zealand and their electorate, or open and accountable Government?

Or the fact that New Zealand First campaigned for a fair go? What of those voters who believed that that party would give people a fair go? Ask Ben Craven, the party’s youngest candidate in 2011. Ask Josh—

Andrew Williams: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is the Prime Minister’s statement debate. This honourable member is not speaking at all to do with the Prime Minister’s statement.

Mr SPEAKER: This is a very wide-ranging debate and the member is certainly speaking within Standing Orders.

BRENDAN HORAN: Thank you. As I was saying, ask Ben Craven, the party’s youngest candidate in 2011, and ask Josh Van Veen whether they got a fair go when they were sacked on a rumour, with no investigation, no disciplinary hearings, and no chance for them to say what really happened; just sacked. This breaks every labour law in the real world, but not here within the walls of that political party.

So what really happened? Well, like most victims of workplace bullying, neither of them will talk. But people who know the full story will not be silenced. It turns out that they dared to question the integrity of Mr Peters’ director of operations, Apirana Dawson. There was a promising young man who was led to the dark side, taken astray by his leader.

[continuation line: Mr Williams, you must remember]

Mr Williams, you must remember this article here: “MPs trade slurs over blog ratings”. Here is a beautiful picture of the honourable Richard Prosser—he looks young and vital—and also a very good-looking Denis O’Rourke. “MPs trade slurs over blog ratings”. I am talking about the same Apirana Dawson who leaked confidential emails between New Zealand First MPs to his friend working for the Christchurch Press in 2012.

Andrew Williams: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Surely this is not within the Standing Orders to be getting into personal matters relating to individuals and individual Parliamentary Service staff—surely not.

Mr SPEAKER: I am afraid that on this occasion, when we are having the debate on the Prime Minister’s statement, it is a free-ranging debate. The member making these statements needs to do so responsibly. I cannot in any way cease a speech or rule it out of order at this stage.

BRENDAN HORAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is the same Apirana Dawson who not only leaked confidential emails between New Zealand First MPs to his friend working for the Christchurch Press in 2012 but also traded expressions with the media using the false name of Bruce Bayliss and also filed Official Information Act requests about an MP using that same false name of Bruce Bayliss.

Would taxpayers approve of their money being used in this way—this dabbling in the dark arts? What happened to the principles of that party? One asks what the New Zealand First MPs are doing for Ben Craven and Josh Van Veen, the two young researchers unceremoniously and unfairly sacked on hearsay, the innocent victims of plots and subterfuges, all overseen by the leader of that party.

What have New Zealand First MPs done about this injustice? How would one describe a New Zealand political party that would unfairly sack its most loyal staffers in favour of keeping its dodgiest? Is this another demonstration of a political party leader’s serious lack of judgment? How can anyone in that party speak on workers’ rights and be taken seriously or believed?

Mr Speaker, look closely, you are witnessing the demise of New Zealand First. The question is whether New Zealand First MPs will have the courage and conviction to take the step that was forced upon me and then broadcast their points of view.

As the Speaker says, Horan has a right to speak.

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  1. Brendan Horan versus Winston Peters and Barry Soper | Your NZ

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