NZ First MP Brendan Horan has been put on leave to sort out allegations about money going missing from the bank accounts of his late mother.
Party leader Winston Peters today twice refused to express confidence in his Tauranga-based list MP.
"Let me tell you, I deal with the facts, and when I see them I'll make my decision then," he said.
Mr Horan is not at Parliament today. "His No 1 priority is to get this thing sorted out and, if he can, provide me with the facts as well," Peters said.
He wouldn't say how long Horan has been given. He denied he had been ''stood down''.
"You can use any expression you like ... His No 1 priority is to sort this matter out and get the facts before me because that's something on which my future decision is going to be based ... it's urgent.
"And I don't mean waiting round for months and months for some legal case."
Forensic accountants have been asked to investigate the estate of Olwen Horan, who died of cancer in August.
The 87-year-old had less than $3000 in her current account when she died, down from $259,000 in February 2007. The Mt Maunganui resident won about $1 million in prizes in an Australian lottery in 1999.
About a month before she died on August 3, Olwen Horan signed an amendment to her will authorising the executor to "recover money by any lawful means" from Mr Horan, "which has either been loaned ... by me, or taken from me".
Peters confirmed he was approached two months ago by Horan's half-brother Mana Ormsby about the allegations. It was a "long phone conversation and I took some serious notes."
He asked Ormsby to send him more information - which he has not yet received. "I'd like to see the bank statements, as of now, I have not."
He added: "I have repeatedly asked for the evidence and the facts from the so-called claimant and the executor, and the lawyer for the will. And to date I have received no information at all."
As of yesterday afternoon, no forensic investigation had begun, he said. "That's astonishing."
Peters said he hasn't discussed the matter with Horan in the last 24 hours.
Horan said he was spending the day in the Bay of Plenty meeting with family members including his sister in Whakatane.
Another brother, Peter Horan, said yesterday he had concerns money had gone missing from his mother's accounts and he was pleased forensic accountants were looking into the matter.
It is understood the forensic examination will look at the use of Mrs Horan's eftpos and credit cards, and cheque transactions.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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