NZ National MP Maurice Williamson lobbied a ministerial colleague to give New Zealand citizenship “as fast as possible” to a wealthy businessman – then conducted the ceremony himself the day after citizenship was granted against the recommendation of officials.
The urgent VIP ceremony, believed to have taken place in Mr Williamson’s electoral office, is another close link between the former Minister and millionaire property developer Donghua Liu, who has donated $22,000 to the National Party previously.
Mr Williamson today resigned his ministerial portfolios after the Herald revealed he phoned a senior police officer about the criminal charges that Liu was facing.
The Department of Internal Affairs released new information about the citizenship case today after previously refusing to release the email Mr Williamson sent to the Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy to lobby on Liu’s behalf.
The DIA recommended the citizenship application be declined on the grounds that the Chinese national did not spend enough time in New Zealand or meet the English language criteria.
Mr Williamson sent the email to Mr Guy on November 9, 2010 and suggested the “case be processed as fast as possible” and Mr Guy used his ministerial prerogative to grant citizenship on December 16, 2010.