Labour Party leader David Cunliffe - who said this week
he had never met Donghua Liu or advocated on his behalf - wrote
a letter to immigration officials on behalf of the
controversial businessman who was applying for residency in New
The 2003 letter was written in his capacity as the MP for New
Lynn after he was "approached my constituent Donghua Lui
[sic] who is concerned at the time it is taking to process
his Investment Category application".
Mr Cunliffe this week denied any involvement with Liu's
residency bid after the Herald revealed the property
developer paid $15,000 at a Labour Party fundraiser for a
book signed by Helen Clark in 2007.
The letter, released to the Herald today under the Official
Information Act, dated April 11, 2003 said Liu's application
for residency was accepted for processing by the Immigration
Service on August 13, 2002.
Mr Cunliffe said Mr Liu wished to set up a joint venture
business with his Tianlong Property Development Company -
which owns his stalled property development in Newmarket - to
export large quantities of agricultural and horticultural
products to China.
"It is hoped that products from the company will be available
to the market in July 2003," wrote Mr Cunliffe.
"I am aware of the difficulties facing the Business Migration
Branch of New Zealand Immigration Services in coping with the
overwhelming numbers of applicants that have applied for
consideration under these categories and the time taken to
"However, it would be very helpful to Mr Liu to be advised of
an estimated period of time in which he could expect a
decision on his case."
Yesterday, Mr Cunliffe told reporters questioning him about
Liu's financial support for Labour he did not recall meeting
him and denied advocating on Liu's behalf in his residency
Liu was granted residency under the Investor Category in 2005
by Labour's associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor
against official advice.
The Herald this week revealed Liu's $15,000 secret donation
to Labour and today published a 2007 photograph of Labour MP
Rick Barker, the Internal Affairs Minister at the time,
presenting a bottle of wine to Liu's partner at another
Labour Party fundraiser.
Mr Barker also visited Liu in his hometown of Chongqing for a
lavish dinner that year.
The Labour Party has previously accused the National
government of making "cash for access" deals with Liu, who
received citizenship in 2010 after lobbying from National
minister Maurice Williamson and whose hotel was later opened
by Prime Minister John Key.
He gave $22,000 to the National Party in 2012 through one of
his companies, and had meetings with Immigration Minister
Michael Woodhouse in an attempt to secure relaxed immigration
rules for rich migrants.
Mr Williamson quit his ministerial portfolios last month
after the Herald revealed he contacted police over a
prosecution against Liu.
David Cunliffe to reporters yesterday
Q: Do you recall ever meeting Liu?
A: I don't recall ever meeting him, no.
Q: Did you have anything to do with the granting of his
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you advocate on his behalf at all?
Q:Were you aware of any advice against granting him permanent
A: Not to my recollection.