“A Gloomy, grey cloud has replaced the big gay rainbow that Maurice Williamson rode to stardom during the marriage equality debate,” writes Vernon Small in today’s Dominion Post Opinion [lead story – “Fallout will colour public perceptions” ref. 1]. His “big gay rainbow speech” in favour of marriage equality laws was hailed worldwide, and he was courted by The Ellen DeGeneres Show…” writes reporter Stacy Kirk. [SPCS commented sardonically at the time on Williamson’s “most enormous big rainbow” speech that catapulted him “overnight” to “gay icon” status, comparing it to the “Emperor’s New Clothes”. See ref. 2 below]
National Party critics are now effectively accusing the party of corruption. Williamson’s parliamentary career lies in tatters… “now the moment for his time in politics should be over” (editorial opinion).
The Dominion Post reports today: The 63 year old Pakuranga MP, Maurice Williamson, who has served as MP for 27 years, “had no choice but to resign his ministerial warrants yesterday once police confirmed he had called them to inquire about the domestic violence case against wealthy constituent and generous National Party donor – Donghuza Liu. His pre-sacking resignation was handled cleanly and swiftly by Prime Minister John Key … The Cabinet Manual [Rule 4.14] states: ‘[Following a long established principle], Ministers do not involve themselves in deciding whether a decision should be prosecuted or on what charge.”
“The written police version of Williamson’s call – though not verbatim – has him ringing to make sure someone review the matter ‘to ensure we were on solid ground as Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand‘.” [Emphasis added]
The Dominion Post editorial (opoinion) entitled “Favours for friends with deep pockets” asks: “Of what possible relevance to a domestic violence charge was Liu’s investment?” Good question! [Some might even be prompted to ask: Was Williamson paid money by Liu to ring the police? If so how much?]
SPCS believes that it is THE PERCEPTION OF CORRUPTION that will be the most damaging “Fallout” from Williamson’s clear breach of Cabinet Manual rules.
[Note: SPCS is a bronze level member of Transparency International (NZ) Inc., the local chapter of Transparency International, the world leading anti-corruption agency].
If Ministers are perceived as showing favour to people based on their wealth (“deep pockets”), this reeks of “corruption” in the minds of many including its critics. [Read more…]