This morning the NZ Herald ran a story by Jared Savage.
Investigations by WOBH can reveal that the Herald has sat on this story since October 2013.
A wealthy Auckland businessman was given New Zealand citizenship against official advice after a Government minister lobbied the colleague who made the decision.
Maurice Williamson, the Minister of Building and Construction, and Prime Minister John Key then opened the first stage of a $70 million construction project launched by the Chinese-born developer after he became a citizen.
The following year, one of his companies made a $22,000 donation to the National Party.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) recommended that the citizenship application of Donghua Liu be declined on the grounds that he did not spend enough time in New Zealand or meet English language criteria.
At first blush this looks bad, but is it?
Well not really. Some pertinent facts have been left out from the story.
For a start there is nothing wrong with the Minister of Immigration or Internal Affairs exercising discretion – it is their right to do so is and it is written into the legislation.¬†Members of Parliament advocate for that discretion to be used constantly, and in some famous cases like Taito Phillip Field used as a matter of course by Labour’s immigration ministers.
But in order to obtain citizenship you must first have permanent residency, which is a much harder barrier to overcome. Read more »