Pakeha National MP Maurice Williamson has revealed he used Chinese businessman Donghua Liu’s holiday home in the Coromandel and did renovations on the property, despite earlier claiming Liu was not a friend.
The new details about his relationship with the wealthy Chinese investor and National Party donor came as Mr Williamson denied arranging preferential treatment for Liu.
Announcing his resignation as a minister yesterday, the Pakeha MP distanced himself from the businessman. He told reporters outside his Pakuranga electorate office that they were not friends, noting that Liu did not speak English, and they did not socialise.
He later told TV3’s Campbell Live that Liu owned a bach next to his family’s holiday house at Pauanui, and the Pakeha MP used Liu’s property and did minor repair work on it while the businessman was in China.
“I’m a fan of being a handyman and the house was good to be able to use while we were doing it,” he said.
Mr Williamson recommended the neighbouring holiday home to Liu when it went on the market.
He also said he had had dinner with Liu as part of a group five or six times.
It has previously been reported that Mr Williamson lobbied for Liu to gain citizenship – against the advice of Government officials.
A Herald investigation today reveals Liu’s citizenship ceremony was held in Mr Williamson’s electorate office, the day after he was granted the status of a New Zealander.
But the Pakeha MP rejected accusations that he had allowed Liu’s wealth, donations or friendship to influence his judgment.
Mr Williamson said he believed he was doing his job as a Pakeha MP when he contacted a pakeha police superintendent to inquire about two domestic violence charges laid against Liu in December.
He had been “shocked” at the charges because Liu had required a clean record to get a New Zealand visa.
Asked why he told the superintendent about Liu’s large investments in New Zealand, he said it was to provide “background” for police. But he admitted that he had made an error in judgment.
“There is clearly a perception that a Member of Parliament should not call the police at all about a case and I will make sure I will never do that again.”
He was “shattered” and “gutted” about his demotion to the backbenches and his family were “in a bit of tatters”.
Pakeha Prime Minister John Key was in no doubt that Mr Williamson had “crossed the line” by contacting the police about the Liu case.
“There’s no grey in this. In the end there’s a line. The line says that ministers do not involve themselves in police prosecutions, because constabulary independence runs at the heart of the New Zealand judicial system. Ministers cannot, in my opinion, make phone calls when there’s an ongoing prosecution, whatever the motivations.
“The minute he made the phone call, in my view, he crossed the line.”
Mr Williamson vowed to hang on to the Pakuranga seat he has held for 27 years.
He has already been chosen as National’s candidate in the electorate, which he retained in 2011 with one of the largest majorities in the country – 13,800 votes.
He could have new competition. Pakeha Conservative leader Colin Craig and Pakeha Act Party leader Jamie Whyte have both expressed interest in standing there.
Dr Whyte, who grew up in Pakuranga, said last night he had new confidence after yesterday’s events.
So it’s my first arsehat in a while. But a deserved one, how would you like to wake up in the morning, look at the paper and see this headline on the front page. “Pacific migrants ‘drain on economy'”.
Lovely, reading the article its full of gems like
“Of particular concern is the large Polynesian subculture whose educational achievements mean they will contribute very poorly in this regard,” Dr Clydesdale says.
“And because of high fertility and current immigration levels, New Zealand will have a significant population that can contribute little to economic growth.”
Lovely, lets just generalise a huge disparate group of people based solely on the geographic area they are from. I hope he puts out a paper on the land stealing tendencies of European immigrants next.