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NRT: Two obvious questions

Written By: - Date published: 1:29 pm, May 1st, 2014 - 70 comments
Categories: corruption, john key, Judith Collins - Tags: , ,

no-right-turn-256Maurice Williamson resigned as minister this morning. No Right Turn looks at some of the implications.

Maurice Williamson was sacked within the space of 2 hours this morning after the Herald revealed he had attempted to interfere in a police investigation on behalf of a party donor. Its exactly what should happen when a Minister behaves corruptly and pisses on our constitutional norms like this. At the same time, it raises an obvious question: why hasn’t Judith Collins suffered the same fate? Or is corrupt behaviour only punished when it involves older Ministers the PM would like to dispose of?

And then there’s this bit:

In a statement, Prime Minister John Key says he’s accepted Mr Williamson’s resignation.

“I have been made aware that Mr Williamson contacted Police some time ago regarding their investigation of Mr Donghua Liu,” Mr Key said.

Which raises the other obvious question: why didn’t Key sack him then? There’s absolutely no legitimate reason for a Minister to contact police in this way, and Williamson’s “excuse” that he wasn’t trying to influence the investigation doesn’t wash (why else would he contact them? And doesn’t he understand that by doing so, he has exerted influence?). Or is corrupt behaviour only punished if it becomes public? And if so, how many other current Ministers have committed similar offences, but are still in their jobs because we don’t know about them?



70 comments on “NRT: Two obvious questions”

  1. ianmac 1

    Yep. There is a time lag in there somewhere. Mr Key too busy elsewhere?

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      It’s not the corruption that’s the trigger, that’s just business as usual in the Key cabinet by the looks, it’s how convincingly you can lie. Maurice struggles with that bit, so he’s gone.

      • Bearded Git 1.1.1

        No it’s not Maurice’s lying ability that is the problem, it is the fact that the MSM have got hold of it.

        If this hadn’t happened Key would not have sacked him. Principles? yeah….nah!

    • It’s also just possible that Key doesn’t have the numbers to sack Collins without some of her supporters shifting ships.

      • Stuart Munro 1.2.1

        More likely Maurice’s funding stream has run dry, but Judith’s is still flowing into Gnat coffers.

  2. …how many other current Ministers have committed similar offences, but are still in their jobs because we don’t know about them?

    My money’s on ’26’ if we count the ones outside Cabinet.

  3. Ad 3

    The answer is twofoild: Collins keeps Key in power, and Key did not have the power to sack her.

    She has the Auckland donor class sewn up tight.

    She is also his only chance of leadership succession – but this is possible only if he in turn shows loyalty to her.
    Collins is now Key’s leadership legacy – Bridges is too brittle, Joyce prefers the backroom, English is spent, and all the others have left.

    In the latest Bond film Skyfall, the bad guy tells this story:
    “Once there was an island. An uncle decided to bring in two rats. They bred, and in time they overral the island.

    The uncle decided to build a trap. It was a barrel submerged in the sand, with a trapdoor lid.

    Each rat would get to the lid, eat the bait, and fall in.

    Eventually they were all trapped in there.

    But then they decided to get hungry. So they decided to eat each other.

    Eventually they were down to two fery fat and contented rats.

    The uncle pulled them up out of the trap and released them. Why release them?

    Because now there would never be an invasion of rats on the island: the two rats only had a taste for rat.”

    Joyce, Brownlee, Key, English.
    Soon there will be only two.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Collins keeps Key in power

      So you are suggesting that without Collins, Key would no longer be Prime Minister.

      You might want to check the poll results because I think without Collins’ support, he would still be PM.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        Then you had better get some understanding of how National’s caucus works, quickly.

        • Lanthanide

          So you think they would throw Key under a bus and replay Jenny Shipley?

          • Tracey

            why do you think collins has survived cf


            all gone or at least temporarily demoted… but not collins

            my sense is he is scared at how low that sets the bar… and that maybe he would struggle to lie his way out of such aperceived conflict of interest… although he did get away with his tranzrail shares early on… or collins has threatened to reveal where some bodies are buried.

            • Ad

              Write a list of those remaining from Collins’ intake year,
              put your Game of Thrones hat on,
              and think like the one who wants the crown.
              Hint: Joyce.

  4. toad 4

    Wonder if the Nats will now return to Liu the $22,000 he bought this extraordinary level of Ministerial corruption support with.

    • lprent 4.1

      The question is that with this level of support for that little, who else expected similar treatment.

      You’d have to wonder what people got for those thousand dollar dinners with John Key for instance.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1


        Does the National Party stay bribed or do they require ongoing influence payments like a modern day protection racket?

        • McFlock

          If John Banks is anything to go by, no bribe will influence any decision they make in their own self interest.

          At best, they’d probably just do whatever they would have done anyway out of their standard sycophancy to the rich…

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            That’s a nice thought.

            $70M construction project. Investor having citizenship difficulties openly threatens government having donated heavily to National Party. Citizenship difficulties melt away.

            As for what they might do anyway, who goes to foreign-language dinners with anonymous customs officials for fun?

            I’ve been imagining the conversation Judith missed out on.

            “What a beautiful wife you have.”

            “She’s a justice minister”.

            “Shit are we all getting arrested!?”

            “Ha ha, no no, it’s all good mate…what’s for dinner?”

            “Grass Mud Horse covering the centre”.

            “Shh, walls have ears!”

            • McFlock

              I was more thinking of the lack of support KDC got in exchange for his “donation”.

              The Francis Bacon defence, if I recall correctly 🙂

        • Red Rosa


  5. Tracey 5

    didnt nick smith try to interfere on behalf of a friend… hes still a minister.

    key says he only knew on tuesday. he wasnt specific about WHICH Tuesday

    • karol 5.1

      SSmith resigned, then after a (suitable?) period in the wilderness Key reappointed him to the cabinet.

  6. toad 6


    However, it is clear that a perception of my trying to influence the outcome has been created and for this reason I have tendered my resignation as a minister today.

    As for Judith Collins, there is more than just a perception, but she still won’t go.

  7. wyndham 7

    “……why hasn’t Judith Collins suffered the same fate.”

    Because Key is just as involved as Collins in the Oravida affair. He can’t sack her or she spills the beans.

    Consider these points: Key plays golf with Oravida chairman (more than once) for a considerable donation to ‘a charity’.(The National Party). Classic Key obfuscating and then admitting the truth when caught out – – – but of course ‘there’s nothing to see here’.
    Keys’ photograph appears in Chinese paper extolling the virtues of Oravida scampi. Discovered by accident and revealed by Paddy Gower. Nothing to see here either.

    What’s the betting Key has full knowledge of the Oravida swamp kauri pillaging now going on ?

    • Liberal Realist 7.1

      ” “……why hasn’t Judith Collins suffered the same fate.”

      Because Key is just as involved as Collins in the Oravida affair. He can’t sack her or she spills the beans.”

      +1 Nailed it!

  8. Toad 8

    If only Williamson had just had a dinner with a senior Chinese border official while his families’ company was trying to get its product into China

  9. Will@Welly 9

    I have never brought into this notion that New Zealand is somehow this little country in the South Pacific that is “untouched” by political corruption.
    Time and again we have seen it. But the New Zealand public is too gullible to believe their own eyes.

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Third obvious question:

    Please can we see the pricelist?

  11. Tracey 11

    if williamson wasnt trying to influence the police… and he was… was he essentially saying

    ” this guy is really rich so can you do a better job than when its the great unwashed?”

    • JanM 11.1

      It’s not exactly a secret that there’s a law for the rich and a law for the poor. This government has done a grand job of undermining the legal aid system and who are our jails full of?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      That is exactly what he was saying.

  12. fisiani 12

    Key’s swift action will be remembered. National would love if Labour wasted questions on Williamson and Collins would laugh if Grant Robertson continued his caped crusader campaign. But true to form these will be deemed by Labour to be issues of supreme importance to Kiwis.

    • freedom 12.1

      fisiani, if it is discovered that Key knew well before today, what will your comment then be?

      Key has already put the story out he knew about it 48 hours ago, 36 hours before it became public

      Key has said he waited a whole day before even speaking to Williamson!

      Where was this swift action then?

      Mon dieu, Why am I asking you this? It’s not like you would reply honestly or anything.

      Wow, a couple of days not talking to PG and the fog really does begin to clear.

    • Key’s swift action will be remembered.

      Arse-covering is always a swift action, there’s no credit due for it.

      National would love if Labour wasted questions on Williamson and Collins would laugh if Grant Robertson continued his caped crusader campaign. But true to form these will be deemed by Labour to be issues of supreme importance to Kiwis.

      Yes, ministerial corruption is trivial compared to important stuff like whether Cunliffe mixed up which medals which of his relatives got last century.

      • fisiani 12.2.1

        How many questions were asked in Parliament about Cunliffe’s medal and military history embellishments? None. I guarantee you that Labour really think this is important and will waste another week. It’s all part of the ABC plan to look busy but badly lose the election.

        • McFlock

          Did you just equate:
          A) confusing one family hero for another


          B) a Cabinet minister interfering in a police investigation?

        • Hayden

          How many questions were asked about anything in Parliament since the medal story came out? None, because Parliament isn’t sitting this week!

          And I bet someone’s going to make a snide remark about it at some point, probably while evading a question about something unrelated (which is everything).

        • Skinny

          On the streets of Williamson’s electorate people have been quoted as saying “I voted for him last election, he won’t be getting my vote this time.” Like many, Kiwi’s are waking up to Nationals cronie capitalism.

          Fisiani it’s called ‘vote bleed’ and of course the attention turns back to that other liability Judith Collins. The wheels are falling off and you know.

          I hope he continues his intentions to stand again, this will cause a stink if he does and for him to consider growing his toys out of the cot if Key try’s to push him out.

          • fisiani

            It’s called vote transfusion. National’s all time Party Vote high of 47.7 % will be surpassed in September. I except that some people might not give their electorate vote to MW but anyone with a brain will vote National.

            • Hayden

              I except that some people might not give their electorate vote to MW but anyone with a brain will vote National.

              Yep, all the clever people vote National.

            • Skinny

              You keep on believing the small sample polls will translate on that figure for National once the votes are counted. You probably also believe NZF is going to form a Government with National too?

            • Draco T Bastard

              but anyone with a brain will vote National.

              The research is in, anyone with a brain votes left.

  13. Vic 13

    I have just received two transcripts of National party MPS friendly conversations,
    1st was the Judith Collins dinner Judith Collins to border control official : (in chinese)”Hey you know who I am aye Hey you know what I do for a job aye”

    2nd Maurice Williamson to Investigating Police officer on Chinese wife & mother inlaw beating case.Maurice Williamson “I just thought I should clarify the police position on MR XXX who is spending ALOT OF MONEY INVESTING in NZ ,Police officer “oh is that right ok good to know thanks for the update Mr Williamson .Thats ok just thought you should know that he is spending “ALOT OF MONEY ALOT OF MONEY A HUGE AMOUNT QUITE ALOT OF MONEY ACTUALLY”! Police officer:” ok thanks very much got to go now “hangs up.

  14. Akldnut 14

    Arron Gilmore is sitting at home feeling:

    Vilified that he was toeing the party line
    Angry that he was singled out
    Happy he isn’t the only one singled out
    Surprised the boss actually did something as fast as he did
    Dismayed that others haven’t been outed.

    This will be a very emotional time for Arron

    And Maurice, well that might just be the end of your mayoralty aspirations buddy – if you were still harbouring any!

    • Tracey 14.1

      depends on what his prid pro quo was. nats can be bought quite easily.

  15. ScottGN 15

    I reckon it would also be interesting to know who and why the Police decided today to overturn their original decision to decline Mr Savage’s OIA on the 24th April.

  16. Akldnut 16

    The idiot needed only step away from his ministries, sit in the bad boys chair for a few months then return as the saviour. A la Nick Smith

    He may have opened the door for someone else with his safe seat………..Shane Jones comes to mind?

  17. mac1 17

    “I have been made aware that Mr Williamson contacted Police some time ago regarding their investigation of Mr Donghua Liu,” Mr Key said.

    This is typical John Key obfuscation. One meaning of this statement is that simply Key was made aware, presumably recently, that this happened. The other meaning is that Key knew way back then but is using the wording to not be clear about when he was made aware.

    The question really should be asked- “When was John Key made aware?”

    The next question “Why wait until the Herald has obtained information previously denied via OIA requests to put Williamson on the carpet and present him with the alternatives of resignation or sacking?”

  18. dave 18

    keys brown envelope dirty dirt bag government has to go !!!!!
    and he is donkey deep in it .

  19. Jim 20

    The two obvious questions need to be answered by asking further questions. Its safe to assume that granny herald did not have to do much digging to get this story. So who leaked the story? My guess is the top floor dealing room at the beehive. So why would Shonky leak this story? To take the heat off the yet to be divulged dirt on Collin/ Key, re Oravida, in parliament next week. The opposition need to move on quickly from the Williamson saga, ask no questions on this in parliament next week , and go for the jugular on Oravida!

    • Paul 20.1

      “Which raises the other obvious question: why didn’t Key sack him then? ”

      Because he’d save up the sacking when he needed it for pr reasons.
      Key looks like he’s decisive now because he’s acted.
      Nats hoping people will forget lack of action on Collins.
      This is a diversion from the Collins story.
      Opposition need to stick to Collins story and not get too distracted by this one.
      They must link the two stories to create a picture of a corrupt and poorly run government racked by divisive factions, led by warlords like Collins.

    • Frankie and Benjy Mouse 20.2

      Maybe the plan was for MW to retire and leave his seat open for Colin Craig. But MW is mucking that up by staying. Wonder what further pressure they will put on him?

  20. Ian 21

    The 2 obvious questions must be
    Why is Cunliffe a big tool and why does he lie with regular monotony .

    [lprent: What does that have to do with this thread? Oh diversion trolling. One month ban. Read the policy again. ]

    • Jim 21.1

      The war medal drama was the NACT diversion 3 days ago Ian, keep up with the play old chap.

  21. Ecosse=Maidy 22

    Another one bites the dust…..and another one gone..another one gone and another bites the dust..oh yeahhhh
    At this rate we might not need an election

    • blue leopard 22.1

      +1 Lol – I just put up a link to that song’s video-with-lyrics on another thread

      …and was thinking exactly the same thing as you wrote here!

    • Stuart Munro 22.2

      I was thinking more…

      Oh, it’s a long long way from May to December
      But the days grow short when you reach September …

  22. Paul 23

    Nat party polling group testing the waters…..using the Herald as its polling tool.

    Should Maurice Williamson resign as an MP?
    A clear breach of acceptable behavior
    Yes – he can’t continue in the job 63%
    No – resigning his ministerial portfolios is enough 33%
    Not sure 4%

    That spelling of ‘behavior’ comes from the Herald’s website.
    Shows the amazing standard of English language skills prevalent amongst the journalists there.

  23. Ecosse=Maidy 24

    I wonder if Maurice has ever asked about anyone else’s up coming criminal prosecution?
    You know… if say I was facing a charge..Do you think old Maurice would do me the honour?..Put a good word in for me?…Try to remind the police of what a fine upstanding citizen I am..a pillar of society?. OR would I need a few million tucked away in the New Zealand economy to justify the intervention?
    I suspect I’d be toast.

  24. vto 25

    Isn’t the question here why Williamson was sacked only when the saga leaked to the public and not when the saga actually occurred?

    If he had not been sprung then Key would still have him there. How many more matters are there like this, where Key and others know of dirty deeds done dirt cheap yet keep it all on the hush?

    Bad smells coming from Wellington.

  25. yeshe 26

    Extraordinary smelly times we are in and there must be so much more to come out. Now, can anyone explain why the same rules re non-Police interference did not apply to Key when he so seriously interfered over the Bradley Ambrose/Banks cuppa in Epsom’ accidental recording fiasco ? (Sorry if this seems off subject but the irony of it brings about my question.)

  26. fisiani 27

    There are 143 days till the election. I suppose that with the economy booming, employment growing crime falling, health improving, education improving and business confidence at a record high there has to be some thing for Labour to ask questions about to gain some traction.
    My guess is that The Cunliffe and Grant Robertson will take up question time at next sitting asking about these issues which are of burning concern to the political 1% but will not change a single party vote in September. Grant Robertson knows this and that is precisely why he will keep banging on about it to appear busy and placate the Standardistas. He wants to appear blameless when the The Cunliffe is rolled on 21st September.

    • Paul 27.1

      Is that what Cameron told you to write!
      You need some better diversionary lines than that!

    • yeshe 27.2

      Fishiani .. do you maybe need any oxygen mask on that planet you inhabit ?

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    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago