Winston Peters slams Govt as 'corrupt'

Winston Peters says the Prime Minister's claim that Donghua Liu is a mere lobbyist like any other is "a disgraceful defence of what is a corrupt practice".

Liu, a wealthy Chinese businessman who donated $22,000 to the National Party in 2012 after being granted citizenship, has had a number of meetings with John Key and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

Mr Liu asked for a lower investment threshold for rich migrants and for the English language requirement to be dropped.

Mr Peters says the rules were on track to be changed before the recent scandals surrounding National Party donations and former Cabinet minister Maurice Williamson's interference in a police investigation into Liu, which later saw him convicted of assaulting his wife.

"They were going to change until they got outed," Mr Peters said on Firstline this morning.

"[Mr Woodhouse] went to a seedy hotel to meet a woman-basher who should never have been in the country in the first place, who wanted to change the policy of immigration in this country… all for a lousy donation of $22,000."

Labour MP Trevor Mallard was kicked out of the House yesterday for asking Mr Woodhouse whether he took a cash payment from Liu while discussing the policy.

Mr Key and the minister deny Liu has had any influence over immigration policy, and Mr Key says it is part of his job.

"Wherever I go as Prime Minister, people make their point in their case," says Mr Key. "That's part of an open democracy and the Cabinet Manual actually makes that quite clear."

But Mr Peters says the National Party is "selling policy for money". Yesterday in Parliament he tabled two letters from groups lobbying for changes to immigration law, saying they had "received strong expressions of support for this approach from the Prime Minister".

"You've got all sorts of people writing to the Prime Minister thanking him for being persuaded to this point of view, and when they're challenged about what they wrote in their letter… they have the effrontery to believe they can get away with that sort of excuse."

Mr Peters is no stranger to donation controversies of his own, but he says accusations laid against him in 2008 went nowhere.

"You had the Serious Fraud Office, the police and the Electoral Commission all having inquiries launched by people like yourself against New Zealand First, all of which turned to nothing."

Mr Peters is also taking shots at the National Party's 'Cabinet Club' scheme, in which people pay to attend fundraising events attended by Cabinet ministers, and embattled Justice Minister Judith Collins.

"One invitation, which I tabled yesterday, was to come and hear the 'potential future Prime Minister, namely Judith Collins. Well that's not going to happen, is it?

"She's been caught red-handed lying and deceiving the New Zealand media and the New Zealand public, and you can put any shine or excuse on it you like, but I've never seen such an appalling series of excuses for what is just plain, outright behaviour, not accepted by the Cabinet Manual or any other former precedent."

He says Ms Collins' wrongdoing far outstrips that of former Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson, who made a single mistake – compared to Ms Collins' alleged repeated indiscretions around Oravida.

3 News

source: newshub archive