MP Horan rejects allegations
Embattled NZ First MP Brendan Horan has publicly dismissed allegations he may have been involved in misappropriating funds from his late mother's estate.
Mr Horan is embroiled in a dispute with his siblings over Olwen Horan's estate, and his brother, Mana Ormsby, has called in forensic accountants after alleging thousands of dollars were misappropriated.
The former TVNZ weatherman-turned-MP has been on leave from parliament since the allegations hit headlines late last month, and party leader Winston Peters doesn't want him back until the dispute is resolved.
Mr Horan is understood to be contemplating legal action over the allegations, which he rejected in a statement issued by his lawyers on Tuesday.
"Mr Horan has been the subject of unwarranted and unfair publicity which has implied he is dishonest and has stolen from his mother. There can be no other interpretation of that publicity," the statement says.
"Mr Horan completely denies any suggestion that he has stolen from his mother or misappropriated her money or assets. He regrets that a private and personal family matter has been made public, and his only wish is that the issues concerning his mother's estate are resolved quickly and properly.
"He invites any investigation into his mother's affairs and is confident that any proper investigation will exonerate him entirely."
Mr Horan told NZ Newswire he did not yet know whether he would return to parliament before it rises for the year next week.
Mr Peters has stopped short of endorsing his MP since the scandal broke, refusing to express confidence in him and repeatedly saying he needs to see all the evidence first.
Mr Horan's mother, Olwen, won about $1 million in an Australian lottery in August 1999, and in February 2007 she had $259,000 in her bank account.
When she died in August, aged 87, just $3000 was left.
Three months before her death, she signed a codicil, or amendment, to her will, because she was concerned that money was missing from her accounts.