Ill-tempered exchanges in Parliament over the ongoing cash
for access stoush involving Chinese businessman Donghua Liu
saw Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Chris Hipkins ejected from
the House this afternoon.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse faced a flurry of
questions over claims Mr Liu lobbied him to lower thresholds
for the Investor Plus category for wealthy would-be
However, Mr Woodhouse and Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee
took exception when Mr Mallard asked Mr Woodhouse whether Mr
Liu had offered him cash.
While Mr Woodhouse answered, saying no, Speaker David Carter
ruled the question was effectively implying cash for access
which MPs are not allowed to do during Question Time.
But Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee said National MPs had
taken offence to the question and Mr Carter ordered Mr
Mallard to withdraw and apologise.
Mr Hipkins interjected that he shouldn't have to, resulting
in Mr Carter ordering him out of the House.
Mr Mallard refused to withdraw and apologise and was already
packing up when Mr Carter ordered him out for the second time
this week. Mr Mallard was thrown out on Tuesday for refusing
to withdraw an allegation that Justice Minister Judith
Collins' family had received half a million dollars from milk
Mr Woodhouse later told reporters "it's quite offensive
really to suggest that (money) would be offered much less
accepted. There are very clear Speaker's rulings about that.
He got what he deserved."
Meanwhile New Zealand First Leader questioned Mr Woodhouse
about Prime Minister John Key's involvement in discussions to
lower the thresholds for Investor Plus immigrants, a matter
Mr Woodhouse he discussed with Mr Liu at the hotel he owns in
Auckland. Mr Peters tabled letters he claimed showed the
Prime Minister was aware of the proposal.
"There's a Minister of Immigration going to see Mr Liu", Mr
Peters told reporters later.
"I'm asking specifically were you aware of the Prime
Minister's view about this changed policy. He claimed
absolute ignorance but I've tabled letters that prove that
the National Party at all points in time and the Prime
Minister in particular knew about the change and wanted to
facilitate it. It's promised in that correspondence."
- By Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald