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Govt tackled over dealings with wealthy Chinese businessman

Published: 6:41PM Thursday May 08, 2014 Source: ONE News

Tempers frayed in Parliament this afternoon as the Government came under attack over dealings with a wealthy Chinese businessman.

Labour's "bad boy" Trevor Mallard was at the centre of it as he was expelled from the House for the second time this week.

Mr Mallard was thrown out after refusing to withdraw a question National MPs found offensive.

"Did Mr Lui offer cash?" he asked.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse replied: "The answer is emphatically no."

Mr Woodhouse was being questioned about meeting wealthy Chinese businessman Donghua Liu last year at Liu's Auckland hotel. He is the same man who donated $22,000 to National and was at the centre of Maurice Williamson's resignation from Cabinet last week.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters asked Mr Woodhouse: "Is it not a fact that the only reason he went on bended knee to a seedy hotel to speak to a certain person was because that person had given the National Party 22-thousand dollars to let in his not-so-rich mates that can't speak English?"

Mr Woodhouse replied: "I have no knowledge or responsibility for any donations given by one person to another party. And secondly, as Minister of Immigration, I go on bended knee to no one."

Liu was granted residency under an investor category that requires an investment of $10 million in New Zealand. He wanted that threshold lowered.

"I pointed out to him, as I have to many others, that simply lowering the threshold wouldn't be appropriate," Mr Woodhouse told Parliament.

'Extremely bruising week'

ONE News political editor Corin Dann says the stoush over Mr Woodhouse and alleged favours to Donghua Liu "come after an extremely bruising week in Parliament" in which Justice Minister Judith Collins has faced more allegations over her links to export company Oravida.

Government MPs say things are now in danger of getting out of control.

"I think it's bordering on that," says Gerry Brownlee, Leader of the House. "I mean I think we could all get into sort of tit-for-tat discussions about who attended what for fundraising purposes. That's easily done. The reality is that New Zealand politicians are not corrupt."

Dann says Labour's Trevor Mallard is a long-time agitator in the house, and refusing to change.

With another three weeks of Parliament to run in this session, "there could more days like this," Dann says.

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