25 Jun 2013

Speaker cuts United Future's funding

9:35 pm on 25 June 2013

Parliament's Speaker has cut United Future's funding following the party's de-registration by the Electoral Commission.

David Carter told the House on Tuesday that he no longer recognises United Future as a party for parliamentary purposes and its funding entitlements will change accordingly.

Peter Dunne.

Peter Dunne. Photo: RNZ

United Future can no longer receive $186,000 in funding and leaves leader Peter Dunne as an independent MP for the Ohariu electorate.

Last week, Mr Dunne failed to get the Electoral Commission to bend the rules to allow his party to be registered promptly after it was de-registered on 31 May for not having enough members.

Getting registered again could take at least two months, once the commission checks the details of the members. David Carter said he would reconsider his ruling once this happens, but told Parliament he has left the door open for any change in United Future's status.

"If the party subsequently regains its registration, I will revisit the matter of the recognition of its parliamentary membership on the basis that it is a political party in whose name a member was elected at the 2011 general election."

Labour Party MP Trevor Mallard sought an assurance from Mr Carter that United Future would not receive any backdated funding once it has renewed its registration.

Mr Carter replied that he would look into that matter, "but the decision is effective today, so the additional funding ceases from today."

Peter Dunne dodged waiting reporters on Tuesday afternoon, but recorded a statement on his phone and posted it on YouTube.

"I agree with the Speaker's decision to cancel United Future's funding and recognition while our registration status is in doubt.

"I think it was the only credible option he had in the circumstances, and once the process has finally completed by a very intransigent Electoral Commission, I look forward to discussing the issue further."

Party president Robin Gunston has also refused to give interviews.