Cabinet Minister Maurice Williamson is in an undesireable position today after it is revealed that he made a phone call to a high ranking Police Officer following a domestic violence arrest.
At the centre of the phone call is National Party donor Donghua Liu, who made a $22,000 donation to the party.
Liu was arrested following a domestic violence incident with his de facto partner and her mother at the Boulevard Hotel in December and has pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman and assault with intent to injure.
There has been no statement yet from Williamson; a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office is expected shortly (see update below)
Williamson also lobbied and supported Liu’s recent citizenship. While lobbying for immigration assistance is not uncommon – it is acceptable for MP’s to advocate on behalf of constituents in such cases – it is not acceptable to attempt to interfer in Police prosecutions.
It would be a different matter if this had been a transparent situation such as Williamson lobbying openly as he did for the cancelation of speeding tickets from cameras on Pakuranga Highway.
The handling of this latest incident will place John Key under the spotlight again for the behaviour of one of his Ministers. Key will be savaged if he supports Williamson, not so much for the phone call, but because it is a domestic violence case, to which Liu has already pleaded guilty. Which is not right; feminist outrage would simply overshadow logic.
The man in the street, in the same circumstances, would never have received this sort of preferential treatment and neither should a wealthy party supporter.
Comparisions will be drawn between this case and the Oravida scandal that embroiled Justice Minister Judith Collins in weeks of controversy, discussed in the recent post, Pussy Pass for Judith Collins.
Update 11.30 Williamson Resigns
Maurice Williamson falls on his sword – there was little else he could do – It would have been a very inventive and brave Prime Minister that sought to defend this one. While Williamson has taken the honourable course, he is yet to front the media and explain himself.
“However, Mr Williamson’s decision to discuss the investigation with Police was a significant error of judgement.
“The independence of Police investigations is a fundamental part of our country’s legal framework.
“Mr Williamson’s actions have been very unwise as they have the potential to bring that independence into question,” Mr Key said.
Still there is a rather large question over the wisdom of Judith Collins’ actions and whether her behaviour compromised the integrity of a Chinese Official – where he would be seen to have compromised his independance by favouring a particular New Zealand exporter; whether her meeting with a Chinese official is any different to a phone call.
With a changing story that was eventually extracted from the Minister of
Corrections Justice should Judith Collins have already resigned? I can see this issue rising again when parliament resumes, but regardless of the outcome there will always be a question over whether Collins received a slap on the wrist with a limp noodle because of her gender.
For the sake of the image of his male counterparts in parliament lets hope Williamson doesn’t pick a ‘soft touch’ reporter and try and excuse himself Collins’ style, with a single private interview. We’ll wait and see.
Sorry Maurice: 27 years in parliament and you want us to believe that ringing a high ranking Police officer ‘to enquire’ about this case was supporting a constituent – a wealthy party funding constituent who could afford the best legal representation available in New Zealand. If you had any evidence that something was untoward you would have discussed that with the Police Minister as any other MP would have, and you didn’t.
There was nothing unusal happening here.
After 27 years you end it like this, that was stupid, and it is sad.
The question now is for the National Party to decide whether it wants to be represented by this sort of thinking and whether Williamson will be their candidate for Pakuranga in 2014.
Here’s the game changer:
National MP Maurice Williamson lobbied a ministerial colleague to give New Zealand citizenship “as fast as possible” to a wealthy businessman – then conducted the ceremony himself the day after citizenship was granted against the recommendation of officials.
Here is a slippery slope and it’s right up there at parlimentary level.
You have a woman like Judith Collins getting ‘let off’ because she is a woman and some people will argue Williamson should be let off because he is a man, but this is a consequence of the feminist subversion of principle.
It’s been discussed here before, under the devolvement of professionalism, but now we are seeing this in our parlimentary governance.
So, what is the point of difference between Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins; it is this:
What you can’t do to support the interests of your political party and what you can do to support your own personal interests.
This really cuts at the heart of the National Party and their principles.