Former Government minister
Maurice Williamson asked a senior police officer to call him
soon after receiving emails the police planned to release to
the Herald which showed the politician had called the same
officer about a National Party donor's criminal case.
Mr Williamson resigned his ministerial portfolios this month
after it was revealed that he twice called Superintendent
John Tims, the Counties Manukau district commander, in
January about the prosecution of wealthy businessman Donghua
Liu for domestic violence offences.
Prime Minister John Key said the MP for Pakuranga had
"crossed the line", despite assuring him he did not intend to
influence the prosecution.
A timeline of events released under the Official Information
Act this morning shows that Mr Williamson's office was
provided with a copy of the emails that police planned to
release to the Herald, which had also been given to the Prime
Minister's office under the 'no surprises' policy.
The note for the evening of April 29 states "Mr Williamson
attempts to contact District Commander Tims".
A spokesman for Police National Headquarters said Mr
Williamson sent a text message to Mr Tims asking him to call.
"Superintendent Tims did not call or respond to the text."
The emails released to the Herald on May 1 showed that Mr
Williamson rang Mr Tims about the family violence allegations
again Liu. Mr Tims referred the inquiry to his Auckland
counterpart, Superintendent Mike Clement, on January 20.
A week later, Mr Williamson rang Mr Tims again, who again
asked Auckland City to respond.
Mr Clement asked Inspector Gary Davey to follow up the
request and "determine how we respond to MP Williamson".
"He [Mr Williamson] started by saying that in no way was he
looking to interfere with the process," Mr Davey reported
back to his superiors. "He just wanted to make sure somebody
had reviewed the matter to ensure we were on solid ground as
Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand."
Mr Davey said he told Mr Williamson the criminal case was
reviewed by the senior sergeant in charge of family violence
cases, as well as the police prosecution team.
In the emails Mr Davey said he told the MP the police would
carry on with the prosecution. "I also explained the wider
responsibility of police to pursue these matters [redacted].
I told Mr Williamson that the best advice he can give Mr Liu
is to have him seek good legal advice. The conversation was
polite and professional on both sides and he appeared to be
accepting of the police position. I will leave the matter
there unless I hear otherwise."
Liu has since pleaded guilty to male assaults female and
assault with intent to injure and will reappear in the
Auckland District Court next month.
After his resignation, Mr Williamson said he made five or six
calls to police each year on behalf of people who approached
In Mr Liu's case he said: "There was no intention to do
anything about screwing the outcome, but just to work out the
focus of it.
"When I hung up I literally did not see that that was
anything other than what a member of parliament would
normally do on behalf of somebody who had asked.
"However it has become clear that the police believe that it
does cross a line, the Prime Minister thinks that it was
inappropriate for me to have made the call."
He said he was told of the December incident by a friend of
Liu and was told by Liu's interpreter there was confusion
over the incident.
"I said I would find out from the police what the status of
all this is and has it come to an end." Mr Williamson said he
was not "friends" with Liu.
"It is pretty hard to have a friend that you cannot speak a
word of their language and they of yours."
Mr Williamson also lobbied a ministerial colleague to grant
citizenship to Liu against official advice and performed the
ceremony himself in his electorate office.
He also lobbied another National minister to relax the
criteria for rich immigrants under the investment rules,
which Liu also wanted changed before he goes ahead with a
proposed $70 million property development which has stalled
for three years.
- By Jared Savage of
the New Zealand Herald