A World Of Strange Design: What Williamson’s phone call tells us about New Zealand’s political class.

By   /   May 2, 2014  /   55 Comments

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” that would mean that both the Police Minister and the Prime Minister were lying when they told journalists that they had no knowledge of the incident until the two or three days immediately prior to its public release.”

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THE LATEST SCANDAL to engulf the National Government raises many more questions than answers. Both the Minister of Police, Anne Tolley, and the Prime Minister, John Key, are insisting that their knowledge of Maurice Williamson’s interference in the prosecution of Mr Donghua Liu was barely 48 hours old when the story broke on Thursday, 1 May 2014.

But if Tolley and Key are telling the truth, then something very serious has gone awry with the “no surprises” policy that all state institutions are supposed to follow in relation to matters of potential embarrassment (or worse!) to the government of the day.

And it’s not just the politicians who have questions to answer. The senior Police officers who, apparently, bowed to Williamson’s January “request” that they review their decision to prosecute the wealthy Chinese property developer and National Party donor, on domestic violence charges, also owe the country a word or two of explanation.

As the NZ First leader, Winston Peters, has already commented, the news of Williamson’s approach to the Police should have been communicated to the Police Minister the moment it was confirmed as genuine – a matter of hours, at the most. Aware of the potentially very serious political damage such a flagrant breach of the Cabinet Manual guidelines could inflict upon her Government, Police Minister, Tolley (following the “no surprises” imperative) should have immediately passed that information on to the Prime Minister.

In other words, if the system had operated as it is supposed to, Tolley and Key should have been in full possession of all the relevant facts relating to Williamson’s extraordinary lapse of judgement within hours of his decision to pick up the phone. But, clearly, if both Tolley and Key only learned about Williamson’s call a mere 48-72 hours before the essential details of the incident were scheduled for release to the NZ Herald under the OIA, then the system is not operating in anything like the way it is supposed to.

Alternatively, the system did operate as it was supposed to and the information has been in the hands of senior government personnel not for 48-72 hours but for the best part of three months!

But that would mean that both the Police Minister and the Prime Minister were lying when they told journalists that they had no knowledge of the incident until the two or three days immediately prior to its public release. Now, there will be plenty of people who will shrug off that allegation with the weary cynicism of one who long ago lost all hope in the probity of the political class. But to knowingly lie to the voters on a matter under intense media scrutiny and of genuine public interest in an election year would be a mighty bold call – even for John Key. So let’s proceed on the understanding that both Tolley and the Prime Minister are telling the truth.

That narrows down the explanatory options to just two. Either, the Police decided, for reasons which they only thought better of after the Herald submitted its OIA request, that there was no need to trouble the elected portion of the Executive that one of its number was attempting to influence the conduct of a Police investigation/prosecution. Indeed, it is clear from the heavily redacted Police e-mails that their initial response was to do exactly as Williamson requested and undertake a review of the Liu case. It was the sniffing of the newshound – and, seemingly, that alone – which recalled them to their duty to remain scrupulously independent from political pressure, as well as their responsibility to ensure that the Government is not surprised by the sudden release of politically sensitive information.

Or, it’s possible the Police behaved exactly as expected, but that the information they passed on never made it to the Police Minister and the Prime Minister. This could only mean that Tolley’s and Key’s staff sat on the news about Williamson’s call – keeping it secret in the not unrealistic expectation that no one would ever find out he had made it. By keeping their respective bosses “out of the loop” they gave them what the American’s call “plausible deniability” – i.e. their bosses could tell the public, with complete honesty, that they knew absolutely nothing about whatever matters their staff had kept from them.

For that to be true, however, a culture of secrecy and suppression would need to have become all-pervasive in the upper-echelons of the New Zealand State. Once again, the cynics might sneer and ask: “So, what else is new?” But, as this latest revelation, and the Oravida story before it, makes clear, the damage inflicted upon a government by one of its member’s attempting to conceal political misbehaviour is always much greater than if the individual/s responsible simply come clean and tell the truth. That was the great lesson of the Watergate scandal: “It’s not the crime that destroys you – it’s the cover-up.”

Unless, that is, the public simply couldn’t handle the truth. Unless something is growing at the very summit of the New Zealand State – a world of strange design – that the vast majority of New Zealanders, if asked, would never accept.

It has happened before in these islands: the slow but inexorable eclipse of one culture by another. The process begins with the deliberate co-option and corruption of local elites. With their connivance, land and resources are progressively alienated by impossibly wealthy newcomers to the point where the economic, political and cultural autonomy of the indigenous people become fatally compromised.

When they first arrive the newcomers constitute a tiny and seemingly harmless minority. But, within the space of just a few decades, they begin to outnumber the original inhabitants. Naturally, the latter are constantly reassured that what is happening is in their long-term interests, and that they have nothing to fear by allowing the wonders of the newcomers’ imported world to supplant all the familiar treasures of the old.

Is it permissible, I wonder, to ask how much of the New Zealand political class the Peoples Republic of China has already purchased?

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55 Comments

  1. JC says:

    A caller to News Talk ZB made the point that the more we deal with China the more these problems will arise. I agree. The delicious irony in the Williamson case is that the Minister who gave Liu permission to enter the country AGAINST OFFICIAL ADVICE was Dmien O’Connor. It seems that in a strange way Labour has got one over the Nats.

  2. Richard Christie says:

    But to knowingly lie to the voters on a matter under intense media scrutiny and of genuine public interest in an election year would be a mighty bold call – even for John Key.

    Ha. The final four words say it all. I wouldn’t know how true they are though.

  3. Richard Christie says:

    Is anyone asking who tipped off the NZ Herald?
    My odds are on that person knowing who knew what and when.

    • Exactly my sentiments Richard Christie.

      Almost any Nat wanting to distance the Party from the slightly left of centrist “gay rainbow over Paukuranga” Maurice would be the ‘dobber-inner’. Slater? The wise and all-knowing media advisers for National?

      Jamie Whyte and Colin Craig were the first right-wing hyenas on the scene by Maurice’s blood-soaked driveway to court right-wing media lapdog Paddy and the MSM. Clear out Williamson and you have a perfect little 13,000 majority love-Tory nest for the misogynistic-homophobic Milky Bar kid or three-strikes-The-Hood professor.

      But the Nats aren’t as corrupt or far-seeing are they? Are they?

      You might say that, but I couldn’t possibly comment Paddy!

  4. Mistery Mistery says:

    Well said Chris Trotter.

    So what shall we do about the Chinese taking over our country?

    They don’t even need bullets – they just need money, and greed, and a captive government.

  5. countryboy says:

    Brilliant Chris Trotter . Your thinking prowess is impressive and always informs me .
    I particularly resonated with the last two paragraphs . Chilling is what they were .
    While not wanting to seem simplistic , silly , absurd , misguided , ill informed etc I believe without the Crown to protect us , we’re fucked .
    And who is really to blame here ? The Chinese for trying their damnable luck or for our very own countrymen and women , so greedy they’ll flaunt the laws and morals of propriety that we hope they defend .
    My only consolation is that the more we shockingly find out , the more we will know . That can only mean that the liars have nowhere to hide . I hope it emboldens the fifth estate into a blood lust .

  6. Intrinsicvalue says:

    In amongst some excellent points Chris, I wonder why the Police would think to inform either the Minister or the PM of the OIA request? Is it standard procedure to notify the minister of every OIA request? Is it standard procedure for every phone call to the police by a MP, or in this case a Cabinet Minister, to be notified? I’m really not sure. In any event, it was a collossal error of judgement by Williamson, and he’s been ‘lanced’ swiftly and cleanly.

    • mary_a says:

      Intrinsicvalue – no the Williamson issue has not been ‘lanced’ swiftly and cleanly at all. Because like an untreated pus filled festering lesion, he’s still there as an MP, along with Judith Collins, another pungent pulsating sore infesting the face of Parliament!

      Both MPs should have been sacked altogether, minus post parliamentary perks and privileges, for abusing their positions as government ministers of the crown.

      • Intrinsicvalue says:

        Mary I’m not sure you can ‘sack’ a sitting MP. They can be kicked out of a party, which would simply mean Williamson would remain on a an independent, but I really don;t think they can be sacked.

    • D'Esterre says:

      @ Intrinsicvalue: ” Is it standard procedure for every phone call to the police by a MP, or in this case a Cabinet Minister, to be notified?”

      Yes. No surprises. You must know this to be so. Cabinet Manual, remember? And every second journalist and commentator has reminded us of it, ever since the story broke.

      • Intrinsicvalue says:

        No, the cabinet manual only prohibits influencing a decision to prosecute or the crime to be prosecuted. It does not prohibit an enquiry, therefore there seems no application to the ‘no-surprises’ rule for this particular phone call. Don;t believe everything you read in the media.

        • D'Esterre says:

          @Intrinsicvalue: ” 2.53 In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.”
          And this:
          “4.14 Following a long-established principle, Ministers do not involve themselves in deciding whether a person should be prosecuted, or on what charge.”

          What Williamson said could have been construed as “attempting to influence..” In any event, it was up to him to advise the PM of the phone call, especially important in light of his own association with Liu. A politician of Williamson’s long experience ought to know this stuff backward.

          By the way, Audrey Young quoted rule 4.14; so not everything written by the media is codswallop, then.

  7. Nom D Plume says:

    “But to knowingly lie to the voters on a matter under intense media scrutiny and of genuine public interest in an election year would be a mighty bold call – even for John Key.”

    But not the first time for JK. Teapot tapes. We can’t prove he’s lying – just circumstantial evidence. Who will you believe? Him, or your lying eyes?

  8. Marc says:

    A few years back, during National’s first term in government following the 2008 election win, I attended a public meeting with Paula Bennett as speaker on welfare reforms and so forth. There were also Tau Henare and Jackie Blue present. And there were many police officers present. It was a public meeting held by the National Party, which was open though to other interested persons from the public.

    I was quite surprised about the “friendliness” between the 3 present Auckland MPs and the police officers keeping an eye on the meeting, and particularly a small group of well known activists.

    The communications and virtual chattery between the many officers in blue and the MPs were more than “warm hearted” and friendly, they all seemed to know each other quite well. I never witnessed such “warm heartedness” and “closeness” between the police and any MP from Labour, who were holding other meetings I attended over the many years.

    I am sure that the New Zealand Police, same like some other institutions, feel very “fond” of the National Party breed and what they stand for. Of course there will be officers not supporting National, but I suspect that the police establishment and many officers are closer to National than any other political party or grouping, even though they must usually of course keep a distance, given the separation of powers.

    But I do not rule out at all, that the police did in this case see no need to report it up to the minister, as they would probably have been on “mate terms” with Maurice Williamson as much as the MPs I saw at that meeting I attended years ago.

    Make no doubt about it, the powers in this country that are in charge, and that keep an eye on us all, they do not always follow the strict rules as they should. Corners are cut and rules bent all the time. I am absolutely sure of it. This one just went wrong, as someone knew something and kept digging it up, same as with the Judith Collins saga around her Oravida buddies.

    So thank goodness there are still some people, who dare speaking out and up. Bear in mind that in the business world, same as in public service, employees sign confidentiality clauses all the time, so much goes unnoticed, that we should know about. The true state of affairs would show a somewhat rotten, corrupt system in New Zealand, of course not like in certain African, Eastern European, Middle Eastern or Latin American countries, but certainly not as “clean” a state of affairs as we are made to believe we have.

    • XRAY says:

      “I suspect that the police establishment and many officers are closer to National than any other political party or grouping”

      Its ironic you should say that because they have been rogered by National, funding wise, more than any other party in the last 15 years. So for them there’s not a lot to like about National.

  9. Marc says:

    “Is it permissible, I wonder, to ask how much of the New Zealand political class the Peoples Republic of China has already purchased?”

    Now that is an “interesting” question, is it not, and also daring?

    I doubt that we have sunk to that level yet, but really, the power of money in itself is to blame, the power of that heap of cash and electronic money flowing in with certain migrants and business operators, who operate at a much different level than the average small scale New Zealand business person or even ordinary person.

    Politics and money always seem to attract each other, and that is where we are, where rich migrants are courted, and this was also done with Kim Dotcom, where it was his wealth, the potential of investment and opportunities, that motivated the immigration service and a few key political players, to say, let him move in and grant him residency.

    It was the same reason John Banks was happy to associate with him, same as so many other New Zealand politicians, especially from the right, enjoy mixing with the big business players coming in with suitcases full of money, to “invest”.

    That is where National is at home, so to say, the party is closely linked to business circles, and the new migrants from China are courted with the intention to get more deals stitched up so that New Zealand businesses can export more to that country.

    In the end the business migrants and also offshore operators can manage to apply their own culture of guanxi, and they are true experts at it, and before a New Zealand minister or ordinary MP knows it, he is tied into networks, where certain things are expected and done in certain ways. Before they realise it, they are part of a system, where it is totally normal to do what Maurice Williamson did, and what Judith Collins did, and they cannot even see anything wrong with it.

    It is the power of money from off-shore, plus of course certain powerful migrants that establish themselves here, plus family members, and others from their migrant community, that change things in a gradual way, which will inevitably change the way things are done in New Zealand.

    So it may pay to be more alert, and stop the rot before it takes hold even more, or the country will truly one day be totally sold out, like the carpet pulled from under your feet.

    But hey, yes, what do Tangata Whenua have to tell us from their experience?

    • Weepu's beard says:

      I always hear that “things are done differently in China” and you make the point that, “Before they realise it, they are part of a system, where it is totally normal to do what Maurice Williamson did, and what Judith Collins did, and they cannot even see anything wrong with it.”

      This casual corruption creeping into NZ on the backs of the Chinese business elite, along with the idea that “things are done differently” over there must surely be a product of the absence of democracy in that country. The penalties are harsh over there if one steps too far outside the way they do things. Not so in NZ, yet.

    • Mistery Mistery says:

      “But hey, yes, what do Tangata Whenua have to tell us from their experience?”

      I hope the Northland Iwi will sort out the Chinese invasion…using lessons of their former experience.

      I don’t understand how they get Northland designated for them to recolonise in. The Iwi up there must have given permission?

      How can this happen: Is it an act of Treason from our government – selling out our country – or did Maori say it was OK to do this?

      Opinion.

    • Jack says:

      Te tangata whenua invited the British to settle here in NZ and hence the Treaty of Waitangi was signed to protect the interests of the local te tangata whenua however the British Settlors and the British Government disregarded the Treaty of Waitangi.

      The Chinese business community operate under a different set of rules to make money in China you have to be linked to the Communist Party and the Government, it appears NZ operates the same way with the likes of Roger Douglas and successive Governments granting favours to the privilidged individuals and families with strong links to Government, you only has to look at the Rich Listers and how they acquired their wealth. Key is assisting the on going process of transferring the wealth to the 1% percenters.

  10. Gruntie says:

    A cover up job for sure – Despite MSM looking like they are all over it, they fail to ask the tough questions AND fail to get to the truth. I may have missed it, but it doesn’t seem to be to have been reported – what actually happened to the domestic violence charges ? Did they proceed ? Was he guilty? What was Lui actually accused of?

  11. XRAY says:

    To be fair to National they have managed, manipulated and control freaked everything to death for nearly 6 years. And probably as a result they have had the most benign media ever in the history of this country who supported their every move and daren’t not question their masters and betters. After all these guys are millionaires!

    On those ever so rare occasions since National was elected it’s funny to hear the PM or a minister actually get properly questioned by a good journalist as we used to see because man oh man they can’t cope, being cottoned woolled for so long they know not what to do or say. You can sense them thinking “Where’s the script, where’s the playful patsy-ness, what the hell are you doing questioning my appalling answers, where’s Newstalk ZB when you need them, Help??”

    So this is probably why everyone else who are so hopelessly denying knowledge of Williamson’s arrogance and crony-ism thought they could bury this scandal.

    • Mike the Lefty says:

      Anyone reading the Dom Post just over the last few days and didn’t know any better would think it was a leftist paper. It has been uncharacteristically scathing of the National government. The Nats are on the backfoot at the moment but right now they will be working overtime inventing some fictitious slimeball factory story about some Labour, Green or NZ First MP. Expect it on Monday or Tuesday next week.

    • Lloyd Jordan says:

      zb is too busy attending nat party functions to bother about trivial things like dishonesty

  12. Mike the Lefty says:

    Dare I say it? Is New Zealand’s closer economic relationships with Asia, particularly China, changing the way people in government regard as their own powers or duties to influence matters in which they have a personal interest?. What I mean is that in most Asian countries, particularly China, getting something done, getting your mates off the hook when they have been bad boys or covering your own tracks when you have been stupid depends on knowing the right people and knowing how much to pay them. In one word – corruption. With Judith Collins and the Oravida affair, the Chinese probably wouldn’t have thought they were doing anything wrong – this was simply business conducted in the usual Chinese way and some of them don’t understand that bribes, gratuities (call them what you want) are not acceptable in NZ. Do we have to get used to the Chinese way of conducting business or do they have to get used to the NZ way of doing it?

  13. Martino says:

    The real issue here is that the price for NZ milk fat access to China is that they can populate our country on a, for our standards, very large scale … and buy as much real estate as they can. Word has it that Auckland and Northland are preparing for an immediate influx of 150k immigrants from China. Gordon Campbell’s latest piece on Scoop supports this: ” …[NZ] The next Canada? Rich mainland Chinese push New Zealand migration to 11-year high …”

    Perhaps one of you investigative bloggers want to follow up on that.

    Becoming tenants in our own country must now be election issue No1. I think . We have to discuss what ‘selling out’ actually means!

    • Mistery Mistery says:

      Who gave immigration the right to let 150k Chinese into NZ?

      And who got paid what, and from who?

      This is a BIG move for NZ!

      Should have been a public referendum on this for Key to ignore.
      The bulk recolonization from China to NZ.

      Disgusting!

      Look at all those poor folk locked up in Nauru, needing a fresh start.

    • weka says:

      “Word has it that Auckland and Northland are preparing for an immediate influx of 150k immigrants from China.”

      Citation needed otherwise it’s just inflammatory speculation that creates backlashes that suppress useful discussion.

      “The next Canada? Rich mainland Chinese push New Zealand migration to 11-year high”

      Campbell didn’t say that, he quoted it. Here’s the link http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2014/05/02/gordon-campbell-on-maurice-williamsons-brand-of-after-sales-service/

  14. Chris, your final comments reminds me of this incident, last year;

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/taiwan-fta-confirmation-by-tvnz-of-china-pressuring-the-beehive/

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/whats-the-beef-guv/

    In fact, if memory serves, I think you made a similar analysis of the event as well?

  15. Kate Kate says:

    I am also sick of the hypocrisy of John Key and the right. They call working for families communism by stealth yet wouldn’t dare remove it. They also paint the left as communists yet talk up the benefits of being a low wage economy. Remember when John Key extolled how great it was that Australian companies were setting up here to take advantage of our lower paid workers. Then we have a government obsessed with deal-making with communist countries wether it be Russia or China. If they truly believed in the capitalist ethos they would be talking up places like Sweden and Finland … no wait didn’t Gerry Brownlee get into a stoush with the Fin’s because he criticised their standard of living??? When have this government criticised China and their governmental processes??? Who are the real communists!

    • Intrinsicvalue says:

      “Remember when John Key extolled how great it was that Australian companies were setting up here to take advantage of our lower paid workers. ”

      What I believe was actually said was that the cost of employment here is less, and hopefully that will always remain the case. The add on’s in Australia are very high indeed (compulsory super contributions, payroll taxes, etc) and these have made investment in labour intensive industry in Australia prohibitive. That’s why, despite their mineral wealth and overall economies of scale, Australia’s unemployment rate has remained much the same as ours.

  16. Pablo says:

    Good post Chris, although I think that the Collins conflict of interest is worse than that of Williamson (I mention the reasons why in a post and comments over at my blog).

    Your last point about the pernicious influence of Chinese money on NZ politics is good but needs to be expanded in two ways. First, it is not just Chinese money that is corroding democratic governance in NZ. As has been mentioned above, Dotcom is doing the same thing, and to be blunt, Indian business interests have also played loose with the rules regarding exchanges of favor, but do so as much if not more with Labour than they do with National. I suspect that US, Singaporean and other well-monied interests with a stake or eye on NZ also do so, but perhaps a bit more discretely.

    That brings up the second point: moral and ethical values. Again, as has been mentioned above, the Chinese, Indian and many other business elites in Asia and elsewhere see the exchange of favors with politicians as just part of the price of doing business and making a buck. Bribery of politicians is seen as the grease on the regulatory and policy wheels.

    When business interests with such views arrive in NZ, they are not immediately disabused of the notion that the game they play at home can also be played here. Instead, the reverse seems to occur, albeit a little less crassly. They are welcomed, pampered, facilitated and otherwise privileged by political elites in pursuit of their investment capital. These elites “bend” the home rules governing the exchange of favors in order to accommodate the foreign interests whose investment is sought. At that point the possibility of individual venality and greed on the part of local politicians can well lead, and indeed may have already led, to cruder exchanges between politicians and foreign benefactors.

    It is the introduction of foreign business ethics that countenance, and indeed rely upon, corruption as an instrument of profit that lies at the core of the scandals now unfolding. Put differently: when confronted by the ethical dilemma posed by the material inducements of foreign business interests versus the requirements for probity in governance, NZ’s politicians increasingly seem to favor the former over the latter, no matter how cleverly disguised and laundered that they may be.

  17. “So let’s proceed on the understanding that both Tolley and the Prime Minister are telling the truth.”… am I the only one that feels like I’m living in a Tui commercial ?

  18. Jack says:

    The problem is we do not really know what John Shon Key and his henchmen are really up to, I guess it will all come out in the wash, and we will as a Nation be worse off from the experience of the John Shon Key Regime.

    It is a bit like reflecting on Robert Muldoons pirating of the NZ Pension Fund for his Think Big Projects and Roger Douglas’s fire sale of NZ Assets like BNZ. NZ taxpayers were no better off for these failed experiments by radical despot politicans.

  19. Note to any Labour or Green MPs reading this; I strongly suggest that a new government do away with the immigration policy of allowing rich businesspeople priority to immigrate to this country. Whether said businesspeople are from Boston, Brussels, or Beijing, it has been a cause of incessant trouble.

    Time to put the queue-jumping to an end.

    • raegun says:

      Absolutely with you, the last thing we need to import is the idea that these people have some sort of entitlement here, as their method of entry into the country could suggest they have. I detest it as a way of gaining entry to this country

    • Intrinsicvalue says:

      Totally agree. They should have to pass the ‘good character’ test the same as anyone else. Kim Dotcom, for example, should never have been allowed into the country, given his criminal history, yet money talked.

      • Stuart Munro says:

        Not sure it was money in his case IV – and this is why he has been radicalised – but it looks like it was a five-eyes/Hollywood jack-up. Not everyone knew though, so Banks went courting his money, but then got tipped off – “leave this one to the wolves”.

  20. papa tuanuku says:

    ACT got two stories and a panel rep on Q and A today. Or 3 of 8 of the manuhiri roles. How the hell does the 1% get almost 50% of the talk time?

  21. Martin Hanson says:

    You’d think that by now they would have learned. But even if they had, the lesson that would have been learned is not to do these things for fear of the consequence. Too much to hope that they wouldn’t do them out of moral conviction!

  22. BF says:

    One wonders what calibre of very wealthy Chinese we are letting into NZ. The SST today reports that Canada cracked down on such people “because of (their) concerns over (China’s) pollution and corruption”. But we welcome them – polluters and corrupters all – and our political top-brass even glad-hand them.

  23. Marc says:

    To me this seems pretty clear cut now. It was all done at a level and in a way, that reminds us almost a bit of the “Hillbilly cop” kind of scenarios. Yes, it reminds me of situations you will find in US American mid western states, or the southern states, where politicians and cops casually resolve “issues” behind the scenes. I hear it even happens in some rural and small town places in New Zealand.

    Here comes a good old Nat Party MP and minister, who knows the heads of offices in whatever government department, including the local police force, and he tries to “sort it out”, to “avoid” more embarrassments for the man charged, and for himself, who previously made every effort to “help” the charged man, also to be granted citizenship. That man to be helped was a rich investor, and he is not even a constituent, and has by arrangement and tip off acquired a holiday home right next to the MP’s.

    And it is just the way it is so often, that people tend to flock around the rich and powerful, we saw the same bizarre behaviour of “common folk” when the royal couple and their little one recently visited. Here is a rich man, who wants to put some money into real estate and infrastructure Auckland and NZ Inc need. Hand shakes come easy with such “partners” and “welcome citizens”.

    Williamson’s incessant claims he helped many poor and even politically opposed constituents, that seems too much like an attempt to excuse his wrong conduct. I do not doubt he helped such people, but it should be expected of him as an MP to treat all his constituents equally, so why “decorate” himself with his “good deeds”?

    As for his now so horrible feelings, his sleepless nights and all that drama, hey, Maurice Williamson, you are not the only one who has tough and hard times. 27 years as an MP on a good salary, entitlement to a great pension scheme, discounted travel and so forth, and other perks while you were in office, that was hardly the kind of life most New Zealanders have, and some have to endure hard times, I must say.

    I do certainly know a fair few WINZ beneficiaries, who also had endless sleepless nights, were stressed out, were even close to suicide, after having had WINZ cut or stopped their benefits, so they could not pay their bills, for no fault of their own. Some I know had designated doctors (trained and paid by WINZ, and apparently biased) question the clients’ own reliable, consistent medical reports, to give WINZ case managers the power to deny them certain benefits. One I know was close to committing suicide, while being mentally ill, and not coping with such a scenario.

    We have such hatchet doctors deal out to some sick and disabled on benefits, and we now even have UK style, outsourced “work ability assessors” paid by WINZ, to question their own doctor’s diagnosis, using new criteria based on bizarre “findings” by a insurance corporation paid “researcher” called Professor Mansel Aylward. Many only suffer “illness belief” that “professor” claims.

    And we do of course have the other poor souls not able to feed their kids and afford the basics of life, without own fault, just because too many WINZ case managers are “tight arsed” these days. This is happening under a government to which Mr Williamson belongs. If he has not noticed it yet, it was the very policies of his government, that forced some to seek his help as their MP!

    So come on, Mr Williamson, Paula Bennett tells her ministry’s “clients” to toughen up, you better start getting the message, and “toughen up” too! If in doubt, read the below article and posts, please:

    ‘Bennett: No changes at Work and Income’

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/10001705/Bennett-No-changes-at-Work-and-Income

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

  24. Intrinsicvalue says:

    Two words…Ross Robertson. And I understand there is a list if Labour MP’s who made the same phone call Williamson made. Oh this will be fun.

  25. blueice says:

    Oravida has bought land on the West Coast which it intends to mine for gold. The mining licence is held by Judith Collin’s husband. Given their involvement in the swamp kauri business I wonder what other pies they are trying to get their fingers into.