Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Maurice Williamson: Emails between top cops revealed

Maurice Williamson has resigned today, following Herald revelations of his contact with a police officer after a businessman was arrested for assault. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Maurice Williamson has resigned today, following Herald revelations of his contact with a police officer after a businessman was arrested for assault. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Maurice Williamson told a senior police officer that a wealthy businessman facing domestic assault charges was "investing a lot of money in New Zealand" and urged police to be on "solid ground", according to internal police emails.

The former National Party Minister, who resigned this morning following Herald revelations that he made the phone call, said that he "in no way was he looking to interfere" with the criminal case against Donghua Liu but 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", according to Inspector Gary Davey.

Read more of the Herald's coverage of this story today:
Statement by National MP Maurice Williamson
Maurice Williamson resigns as a minister
Audrey Young: Williamson's 'significant error of judgment'
Profile: Who is Maurice Williamson?

Mr Williamson, who is still the MP for Pakuranga, originally contacted Superintendent John Tims - the district commander for Counties Manukau - about a family violence incident involving Liu in December.

Mr Tims referred the inquiry to his Auckland counterpart Superintendent Mike Clement on January 20.

Mr Clement tasked Mr Davey to follow up the request. Mr Davey said the case would be reviewed and he would come back to them to "determine how we respond to MP Williamson".

A week later, Mr Tims asked Mr Davey to ring Mr Williamson.


Maurice Williamson (right) and Donghua Liu (left). Photo / NZPA. NZ Herald

In the police emails released to the Herald under the Official Information Act this morning, Mr Davey told the two district commanders that he phoned Mr Williamson on January 28.

"He started by saying that in no way was he looking to interfere with the process, 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 that the criminal case was reviewed by the senior sergeant in charge of family violence cases, as well as the police prosecution team.

"I told him it was ultimately up to Prosecutions to decide whether they would continue with the case."

Mr Davey said he told Mr Williamson that 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."

Copies of the police emails

New police response to Herald inquiries:

Read more of the Herald's recent coverage of Donghua Liu:
Businessman in citizenship row admits charges
Editorial: Ministers and immigration shouldn't mix
Weeds choke $70m dream

How it unfolded:

2010: Businessman Donghua Liu granted NZ citizenship by Nathan Guy, the then Minister of Internal Affairs, against official advice after being lobbied by Maurice Williamson, Minister of Building and Construction, and John Banks, the Auckland Mayor at the time.

2011: Mr Williamson and Prime Minister John Key attend the opening of the first stage of Mr Liu's $70 million redevelopment in Newmarket, Auckland

2012: Roncon Pacific Hotel Management Holdings Ltd - of which Mr Liu is a director - makes a $22,000 donation to the National Party.

2013: Liu charged with assault with intent to injure and male assaults female. Mr Williamson rings a senior police officer in Auckland.

2014: Liu pleads guilty to both charges.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 Dec 2014 06:44:35 Processing Time: 463ms