Brendan Horan – Raging against the dying of the light

It must be a somewhat depressing existence, being Brendan Horan. He’s got less than a hundred days left of employment, and the only headlines he generates are the result of either probes into his and his family’s financial dirty laundry or the ongoing vengeful feud with his former boss, Winston Peters.

One can understand why there’s no love lost between Horan and Peters. Peters kicked Horan to the kerb without a hint of due process when the Horan family financial scandal hit the headlines, and since then Horan has eked out an angry and pointless existence, colleague- and party-less.

As the days tick by though, Mr Horan appears to have developed a new sense of urgency. His renewed attacks on Winston Peters and NZ First have been covered here previously – presumably a case of Mutually Assured Destruction, with Horan attempting to ensure that there are enough negative headlines about Mr Peters that they’ll both go down together.

However, he’s also now undertaking a last ditch attempt to clear his name, perhaps knowing that it’s now or never. Once he’s made redundant from Parliament (well, more redundant than he already is), he knows that there’ll be no media interest in his protestations of innocence. He’ll be just another ex-MP. To that end, he and his wife, Miranda, have gone to David Fisher, for a tell-all interview. Realistically, it’s too little, too late. If he thinks the public will wade through the detail about which Horan family member did what, as their mother’s funds slowly depleted, he’s sadly mistaken.

The interview is interesting though for a number of comic reasons.

Firstly, there’s his reason for going into politics – he realised that “ignorance was no barrier”:

Mr Horan decided on politics in 2005 after meeting a group of MPs and realising instantly ignorance was no barrier.

Until then, he didn’t vote, figuring he knew too little about what was going on.

At the time, he worked at TVNZ as the weatherman and asked MPs, queuing for a political show, for the local pronunciation of a place in Christchurch where he was warning of flooding. They all started arguing – no one could agree. It was an “oh my God” moment, says Mr Horan. “Up until that time I was keen to leave New Zealand in the hands of the politicians we had.”

Secondly, there’s his belief that he’d end up leading NZ First:

He also had an eye on taking over when Mr Peters retired, saying one of Mr Peters’ closest advisers told him he would.

“I trusted when the time was right the leader of NZ First would pass the mantle over.”

Even if he didn’t get to succeed Winston as demagogue-in-chief, I guess Mr Horan has nonetheless ended up as the leader of a political movement-of-sorts. He is, of course, the creator of the New Zealand Independent Coalition – a movement which prides itself on being guided by the majority of voters, thanks to presumably endless polling on a presumably endless series of issues. It’s one of the more inane ways of attempting to get (re)elected. After all, quite how a policy platform of no fixed policies is supposed to resonate with the public is anyone’s guess.

Which makes it an odds on bet that Mr Horan will not be returning to Parliament once the results are in on 20 September. In the meantime, there will undoubtedly be some fun to be had from Horan during the campaign, as he does his best to be a millstone around Winston Peters’ neck. And then Horan will be gone, remembered few, missed by nobody.



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