Maurice Williamson

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The Honourable
Maurice Williamson
MP
Maurice Williamson at the NZ Open Source Awards, 2007.jpg
Maurice Williamson at the NZ Open Source Awards, 2007
Minister of Customs
In office
19 November 2008 – 1 May 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Nanaia Mahuta
Succeeded by Nicky Wagner
Minister for Building and Construction
In office
19 November 2008 – 1 May 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Shane Jones
Succeeded by Nick Smith
Minister of Statistics
In office
19 November 2008 – 1 May 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Darren Hughes
Succeeded by Nicky Wagner
Minister for Small Business
In office
19 November 2008 – 12 December 2011
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Clayton Cosgrove
Succeeded by John Banks
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Pakuranga
Incumbent
Assumed office
1987
Preceded by Neil Morrison
Personal details
Born (1951-03-06) 6 March 1951 (age 63)
Auckland,  New Zealand
Political party National
Spouse(s) Raewyn
Children 3
Alma mater University of Auckland
Profession Computer programmer
Religion None

Maurice Donald Williamson (born 6 March 1951) is a New Zealand politician, representing Pakuranga in the House of Representatives as a member of the National Party. He held several ministerial portfolios outside the Cabinet: Building and Construction, Customs, Statistics and Land Information.[1]

Before politics[edit]

Williamson was born in Auckland but spent nearly all his school years in Matamata. After graduating with qualifications in computer science and applied mathematics from the University of Auckland, he worked for twelve years developing airline planning software for mainframe computers.

Williamson is married to Raewyn and has three children. He is an Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Computer Society (HFNZCS).

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1987–1990 42nd Pakuranga National
1990–1993 43rd Pakuranga National
1993–1996 44th Pakuranga National
1996–1999 45th Pakuranga 20 National
1999–2002 46th Pakuranga 14 National
2002–2005 47th Pakuranga none National
2005–2008 48th Pakuranga 17 National
2008–2011 49th Pakuranga 8 National
2011–2014 50th Pakuranga 19 National
2014 – present 51st Pakuranga 35 National

Williamson is a member of Parliament for the National Party, a centre-right political Party in New Zealand, and has been MP for Pakuranga since the 1987 elections. He has held a number of ministerial posts, including Minister of Communications, Minister of Broadcasting, Minister of Transport, and Minister Research, Science and Technology, and associate Minister of Health (1990-6). He was a strong supporter of reform of prostitution law.

His 2005 election campaign saw one of the strongest results for National across New Zealand.

Suspensions[edit]

He was suspended from caucus on 22 July 2003, after refusing to curtail his criticism of the National Party leader, Bill English, who he blamed for poor performance in the polls.[2] After English was replaced by Don Brash, Williamson was reinstated. Since his return after suspension, Williamson has played an active role in National, and was elevated up the ranks to eighth position in the National lineup in 2008.

On 1 May 2014, he resigned his ministerial portfolios after making what the Prime Minister, John Key, called, "A serious error of judgement." The Prime Minister was referring to a phone call Mr Williamson had made to the Police enquiring about a charge they were laying against businessman and National Party donor Donghua Liu over domestic violence allegations. Williamson told the police he was not trying to interfere with the process - he just wanted to make sure somebody had reviewed the matter to ensure the police were on solid ground as "Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand".[3]

49th and 50th New Zealand Parliaments[edit]

After the 2008 general election the National Party formed a minority government with 3 Confidence and Supply partners. Despite his high list placing, Williamson was not selected for cabinet due in part to a series of gaffes during the election campaign relating to the party's policy on road tolls.[4] He was given ministerial responsibilities outside of cabinet for Customs, Building and Construction, Statistics and Small Business. One of the major matters under his governance is the ongoing Leaky homes crisis in the country, which he noted as having the government "stumped" due to its enormousness.[5]

In June 2009, Richard Worth left Parliament after Prime Minister John Key losing confidence in him as a Minister over sexual allegations[6][7] Williamson was made the acting Minister of Worth's portfolios of Internal Affairs, National Library and Archives New Zealand which were subsequently passed on to Nathan Guy.

After the election of the 50th Parliament of New Zealand Williamson was returned to his seat and re-appointed as a minister in the second term of the National-led government. Williamson retained his 2008 portfolios of Customs, Land Information and Building and Construction but lost the role of Small Business Minister to John Banks as part of the new National-ACT Confidence and Supply deal. Williamson remained a Minister outside of Cabinet, along with Jo Goodhew, Chester Borrows and Chris Tremain, until his resignation from all ministerial portfolios on 1 May 2014.[8]

'Big gay rainbow' speech[edit]

In April 2013, Williamson voted in favour of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill which legalised same-sex marriage, delivering a memorable speech prior to the third reading vote.[9] The speech was soon being referenced worldwide by news outlets.[10] With Williamson's sarcastic and honest approach, the speech was viewed hundreds of thousands of times over the next few days, and featured on high-profile news sites like The Huffington Post and Gawker. Williamson said he had an offer to go on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but had to turn it down due to rules around ministers accepting gifts. Williamson was later given approval by the prime minister to go on the show as long as he donated any money received to charity.[11][12] Williamson's speech was praised by Opposition politicians and left-wing media commentators.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Zealand Member of Parliament Page: Maurice Williamson". New Zealand Government. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  2. ^ "National caucus suspends Williamson". New Zealand Herald. 22 July 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ Audrey Young: Williamson's 'significant error of judgment', NZ Herald 1 May 2014
  4. ^ "Williamson's political career on the skids after snub". The New Zealand Herald. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Laxon, Andrew (27 February 2010). "Govt stumped as leaky home bill skyrockets". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "PM's Statement on Richard Worth’s resignation | Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  7. ^ "Statement by Dr Richard Worth | Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  8. ^ Savage, Jared (1 May 2014). "Maurice Williamson resigns as a minister". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Williamson jovial in marriage equality speech". 3 News NZ. 17 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Williamson's 'big, gay rainbow' speech makes world headlines". TVNZ OneNews. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "MP becomes unlikely gay icon". 3 News NZ. 19 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Williamson allowed to appear on Ellen". 3 News NZ. 22 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "NZ Power scheme a 'masterstroke'". 3 News NZ. 22 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Neil Morrison
Member of Parliament for Pakuranga
1987–
Incumbent