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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Forecast gloomy for Mr Sunshine

If anyone can battle their way back from being an outcast list MP - expelled from their party - to vindication, redemption and political rehabilitation... it isn't going to be a swaggering, smug, one-fingered typist thickie such as Brendan Horan. He was NZ First's intellectual equivalent of Paul Quinn - a non-entity backbencher (too far down the Nat's list to make it back this time) and whose sole parliamentary contribution was a members' bill to restrict voting rights. Horan was shaping up to be a Quinn - light years away from his leadership aspirations.
So, no great loss to the institution of parliament; but as annoying as trying to walk in a broken jandal for NZ First. How long will they have to put up with a flapping flip-flop? Pretending that it isn't affecting them as they scrape and hobble past. It is damaging to the party in the short term, however even if he hangs tough, all alone, all the way to the scheduled 2014 election chances are he would have long been rendered as invisible - as invisible as he is irrelevant. So I doubt this will come back to sting NZ First (unless of course it turns out Winston was wrong! And being a lawyer and a veteran politician that is most unlikely). There may be an issue regards whether Winston has acted as leader ahead of a caucus vote and whether that opens a line of litigation for Horan to return(discussion here) - but that ain't going to happen.

The ousting has spurred inevitable comments about the rules that allow an expelled list MP to remain in parliament.
NZ First leader Winston Peters expelled Horan from his caucus and party yesterday after receiving new information linked to allegations that Horan had taken money from his dying mother. Peters says Horan should resign from Parliament, but Horan says he isn't going to be shamed into quitting.
It is a "quirk of the system" which allows a list MP to stay on in Parliament even though they have been expelled from the party which brought them there, Peters says.
It's a quirk Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson would like reviewed and he says now is the time to do it.
"I understand the complexity of the situation but I do think for the credibility of Parliament we need to make sure there are clear rules which uphold that," he says.
The Government is currently reviewing the MMP system and Robertson would like to see it extended to include a review on rules for list and electorate MPs who are either expelled or leave their party on their own accord.
Robertson is a party man, a careerist, a Wellington insider, and an electorate MP besides, and it will come as no surprise he advocates that the party slaves should do as their party masters direct. This issue however has already been dealt with and resolved successfully. Opening it up via the MMP review in any attempt to impose this ultimate whipping mechanism should be staunchly resisted.

The "party-hopping" legislation has lapsed and there is no way to get rid of the rogue or exiled MPs. This is a good thing for two reasons:

Firstly, it prevents the caucus majority and leader from dictatorial action (which could be based on personalities, ambition, ideology etc. and not on addressing real wrong-doing), which could see revolving doors of hiring and firing MPs mid-term that would be an even worse look than what it was supposed to remedy.

Secondly, it's just tough fuckin' titty! You get what you deserve. If a party puts someone on the list and it turns sour, then them's the breaks, they should have to live with it. If you voted for that party and that list then that's what you get and in that order - not what a few determine afterwards in the caucus room or behind closed doors in someone's office. It puts the emphasis on parties to run selections and rankings to get the best people and they must accept the consequences of their mistakes.

As for Horan's future, it is awfully gloomy. The only avenue of love in the midst of haters would be from the Nats wanting an extra vote to cushion their small majority - a la the Shipley government's arrangements with the odds and sods defecting from NZ First and the Alliance in 1998-99. I doubt this will happen though as the absolute necessity does not exist  because the Maori Party have welded themselves to the Nats.

He looks set for a lonely time at the back of the class, but there are 141 thousand reasons a year to keep him there - plus expenses.

Political gambling site iPredict has a series of stocks on what will happen to Horan, none of which match his natural confidence and self-belief.

NZ Police to investigate Brendan Horan before 1 July 2013
Probability: 92.0%

 Brendan Horan to be charged with an offence over mother's estate issue before 1 Jan 2014
Probability: 60.9%

 Brendan Horan to announce resignation from Parliament before or on December 21st
Probability: 50.0% 

Brendan Horan to announce resignation from Parliament before or on December 14th
Probability: 34.6% 

Brendan Horan to announce resignation from Parliament on or before December 7th
Probability: 9.3%


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