9 May 2014

Donations issue 'out of hand'

6:02 am on 9 May 2014

As accusations fly over party fundraising and MPs interactions with wealthy donors, the Leader of the House, Gerry Brownlee, says the whole issue is in danger of getting out of hand.

Mr Brownlee, the senior government minister, said it would be easy to descend into a tit-for-tat discussion about party donations and fundraisers.

Gerry Brownlee.

Gerry Brownlee. Photo: RNZ

"The reality is that New Zealand politicians are not corrupt, we do not take cash from lobby groups or others for personal reasons but there are groups who choose to support one political party or another."

Labour MP Trevor Mallard was thrown out of the Parliament's debating chamber on Thursday, after asking Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse whether businessman Donghua Liu, offered him cash when they met and discussed immigration last year.

Mr Woodhouse emphatically denied that.

Mr Woodhouse appealed to the Speaker of the House to rule the question out of order on the basis it was suggesting corruption.

Mr Mallard and another Labour MP, Chris Hipkins, were subsequently ejected from the chamber after a heated exchange with the Speaker.

Mr Brownlee said Mr Mallard was just throwing out allegations for the sake of it.

"And you owe it to Parliament to have a great deal more behind that accusation that simply I think this a funny thing to do and see how the member reacts when I say it - it's appalling."

Mr Liu is a donor to the National Party and the man at the centre of Maurice Williamson's ministerial resignation.