National MP Maurice Williamson has revealed he used
Chinese businessman Donghua Liu's neighbouring holiday home in
the Coromandel and had done 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 preferential treatment for Liu.
Announcing his resignation as a minister yesterday, the 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
He later revealed that Liu owned a bach next to his family's
house at Pauanui, and the MP had used the property and
performed minor repair work on the house when Liu was in
"I'm a fan of being a handyman and the house was good to be
able to use while we were doing it," he told Campbell Live.
Mr Williamson recommended the neighbouring holiday home to
Liu when it went on the market.
He also said he had eaten dinner with Liu as part of a group
five or six times.
It has previously been revealed that Mr Williamson lobbied
for Liu to gain citizenship - against official advice - and
his citizenship ceremony was held in Mr Williamson's
But the MP rejected accusations that he allowed Liu's wealth,
donations, or friendship to influence his judgement.
Mr Williamson said he believed he was doing his job as an MP
when he contacted a police superintendent to inquire about
two domestic 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 Mr Liu's large
investments in New Zealand, he said it was to provide
But he admitted that he made an error in judgement.
"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 was "in a bit of tatters".
Prime Minister John Key was in no doubt that Mr Williamson
had "crossed the line"by contacting police.
"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
Mr Williamson vowed to hang onto the Pakuranga seat he has
held for 27 years.
He has already been chosen as National's candidate in
Pakuranga, where he won with one of the largest majorities in
the country in 2011 - 13,800 votes.
He could have new competition. Conservative leader Colin
Craig and Act Party leader Jamie Whyte have both expressed
interest in the electorate.
Dr Whyte, who grew up in Pakuranga, said last night he had
new confidence after yesterday's events.
- By Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald