Maurice Williamson 'wasn't that bad'

Maurice Williamson (Getty)
Maurice Williamson (Getty)

People still criticising Maurice Williamson for delivering a bawdy speech "just love to be outraged", at least according to fellow National backbencher Judith Collins.

Mr Williamson has "unreservedly" apologised for the speech, delivered to a business audience at Sky City at the weekend. According to reports a number of attendees walked out in disgust after he made "inappropriate, crude and sexist" comments, showed pictures of scantily-clad women and played audio of a "homophobic" fake advertisement that referred to sex acts.

Prime Minister John Key said the speech was "over the line", but didn't warrant his resignation, as demanded by Labour's Sue Moroney.

Ms Collins says she's seen the PowerPoint presentation Mr Williamson delivered, and "honestly, it wasn't that bad".

"I saw in a newspaper this morning utter outrage from people who were not there, and I was thinking 'oh, for goodness' sake'," she said on the Paul Henry programme this morning.

"Obviously Maurice has got it wrong, he got it really wrong, and that is something that does happen sometimes. When you go and say to Maurice, 'We want you to be as funny as possible,' it's always going to be a bit dangerous."

Instead, she wants people to focus on all the good he has done for his electorate over the years.

"He's actually extremely effective as the MP for Pakuranga. You put Maurice in general debate in the House and there's nobody that's better than him.

"He has a lot of skills, but I'll say this: just for goodness' sake, some people just love to be outraged. Obviously he went over the board – I don't condone it, he doesn't condone it, he's sorry, no one died. Let's just move on."

Labour deputy leader Annette King, also appearing on Paul Henry, said Mr Williamson has gone overboard on a number of occasions and should perhaps reconsider his future in Parliament.

"He increasingly looks like one of the old men on the Muppets, sitting up the back of Parliament saying, 'I can do better than this.' But you know, he'll make his own decision when he leaves."

Mr Williamson has been MP for Pakuranga since 1987, but there have been rumours he will contest the Auckland mayoralty next year.

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