Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has confirmed that
he met with Chinese businessman Donghua Liu, and heard his
requests for a change in immigration policy.
Mr Woodhouse said Mr Liu - who was involved in National MP
Maurice Williamson's resignation - lobbied him in April or
May at the businessman's Newmarket hotel.
The minister said Mr Liu lobbied him to change the rules of
the business migrant scheme.
"We traversed a range of ... issues about how the investor
category could be improved, and I took on board those
Mr Liu was seeking a new immigration category in which
non-English speakers could pay less than the $10 million
The minister told reporters that while the investment
categories were under review, he had no plans to lower the
threshold of the Investor Plus scheme.
"We've undergone a review of the investor categories and
we've found that by and large they're working very well.
"There are some possibilities for improving the way in which
the categories work ... but no decisions have been made.''
Mr Woodhouse said any changes to the scheme would focus on
"the way in which people invest funds, where they invest
funds, and how long they need to spend in the country''.
This could include extending the scheme to migrants who
invested in the Canterbury rebuild.
Mr Liu gained residency through the Investor Plus scheme,
which was required for non-English speaking migrants to
qualify as business migrants.
The Herald has previously reported that his plans for $70
million development in Newmarket would go ahead following
"improvements to New Zealand's business migrant rules''.
Mr Liu hired professional consultants to lobby ministers to
lower the threshold. When he was unsuccessful in getting
Government to relax the rules, the development stalled.
Mr Williamson lobbied for Mr Liu to gain citizenship, and it
was granted in 2010.
The National MP resigned on Thursday after it was revealed
that he contacted police about Mr Liu's domestic violence
charges in January.
Mr Woodhouse also said he discussed immigration issues at a
National Party fundraiser which Chinese migrants attended.
He said he spoke about immigration policy at the November
event "as I do at just about everywhere else in the
The minister said it did not cost money to access a
Government minister, and someone could get hold of him "by
picking up the phone''.