From hippie to tory to gay icon, Maurice Williamson is the man of the moment



Any sensible PM would have learned long ago that Maurice does what Maurice wants to do and that trying to stop him results in carnage on the tracks.

Michelle Hewitson sat down with Maurice Williamson for a chat about his sudden rise to fame.

Nobody could be more surprised than Maurice Williamson – other than his wife, his three kids and … oh let’s just say the entire country and quite possibly the universe – that one morning he woke up and found he had become a great big gay icon.

Nobody could be more surprised than me to find myself in his Pakuranga electoral office asking the National MP of 27 years: What’s it like to be a gay icon?

There is no use asking him. He hasn’t the foggiest idea. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that he is rather enjoying being whatever one is.

I asked his son, Simon, what he thought and he said: “It’s surprising.”

He said this in a way which suggested that he got over being surprised about his father’s antics some years ago. We had just watched him doing a surprisingly good impersonation of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. “He walks up to this counter of this hotel and there’s this massive big Alsatian sitting there and he says to the guy, ‘Pardon Monsieur, does your dog bite?’ And the guy says, ‘No, it does not’. And he says, ‘thank you … hello poochie! How are you?’ And the dog just savages him and Sellers is going, “Aagh!” And he says, “I thought you said your dog does not bite?’ And the guy says, ‘I did Monsieur.

That is not my dog’!”

Oh no… he’s pitching for a career in standup as well.

[S]till in negotiations with the Ellen show about whether he’ll appear and when. He wants to talk about New Zealand and promote the country as a place of tolerance and so on but they obviously want Maurice Williamson, the comic MP.

The PM seems keen for him to go. He claims he has no idea what the PM meant when he said: “It would be hard to stop him”; he might have an inkling. Any sensible PM would have learned long ago that Maurice does what Maurice wants to do and that trying to stop him results in carnage on the tracks.

He should take all that energy and focus it on Auckland.  The place can do with someone who has more of a plan than just building a nebulous living city and a train set.

He’s been around for too long to worry about what people think of him, or the dog, or his speech – which wasn’t even his best speech: “Not in a million years.” It was just “a four-minute leer-up!” So all the fuss is a surprise. “I mean, you’re asking the wrong person! But I think if you speak from the heart …”

What is not a surprise is that he voted for gay marriage. It is perfectly in keeping with his Libertarian views. “Correct. I’ve always held those views. Your rights finish where my nose starts.”

He said, “I’m doing bland exceedingly well these days.”

He has at times been extraordinarily unpopular. “Ha, ha. You might say that. I couldn’t possibly re-emphasise it. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said: ‘The best way in politics to be unpopular is to try and please everyone.”‘

But he might be easier to deal with these days; his maverick tendencies might have mellowed with age. “You can’t just ask someone questions like that! I don’t know!” Doesn’t he really? “Well, I don’t think I’m that hard to deal with. Take for example staff …” He called out to his electorate secretary: “Carla?” There was no reply. “Oh. Carla’s at lunch. Carla has worked for me since the day I started, 27 years ago.”

Yes, but he has never stood up at a National Party conference and said she was useless! “Um, I don’t think that’s a fair comment to make. I don’t think I ever said that!”


Source:  NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.