The National Government has been accused of "cronyism" over the handling of a donation from a wealthy businessman granted citizenship against official advice.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the links between National and Donghua Liu (pictured) were a "bad look and very troubling for ordinary New Zealanders".

While no one was claiming that any government figure had personally benefited from approving Mr Liu's citizenship, Dr Norman believed that where there were specific circumstances where officials had advised against approving someone's citizenship and a minister has overridden that, "there should be some constraint on the minister's political party receiving donations from that person". "I'm not saying that's our policy, but we need to consider options like that because it's a pretty serious issue," Dr Norman said.

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said the donation was "just more evidence of the way the National Party does business in modern times".


Labour Party deputy leader David Parker said it seemed that "businesses that have links with the National Party were treated differently from other businesses".

"We've had two recent instances which raise concerns."

Prime Minister John Key said there was nothing wrong with the National Party receiving a $22,000 donation from Mr Liu two years after a senior National MP supported his citizenship bid.

"We live in a democracy and people are free to give donations to political parties that they want to support."