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MP And Police Commissioner Give Evidence In Field Trial

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Taito Phillp Field
Taito Phillp Field

Auckland, June 24 NZPA - Labour MP Ross Robertson gave evidence at former colleague Taito Phillip Field's High Court trial today, talking of seeing Field's house in Samoa in 2005.

Field, a former Labour and independent MP, has denied 35 charges, many of them alleging bribery and corruption over his dealings with Thai nationals on immigration issues.

One of them, Sunan Surinan, a Thai tiler, told the trial earlier that Field had asked him to do work on his house in Samoa in exchange for help with his work permit.

Mr Robertson, the MP for Manukau East, said he made a trip to Samoa's capital, Apia, with his wife in March 2005.

Phil Goff and Paul Swain, cabinet ministers at the time, were also on the same flight for an official delegation, he told the court.

"We had originally intended to go in February, but we put it back to March because Phillip was unable to go in February," Mr Robertson said.

He said Field's wife, Maxine, had suggested they have a look at the house Field was building there.

"It was in a pretty raw state really, and there wasn't much there at all. There were two men in the garage who had just got out of bed. Inside the garage was a large pile of timber and a work bench. It was pretty rough," Mr Robertson said.

The two men were Mr Surinan and builder Keith Williams.

Mr Robertson said he visited the house on two subsequent occasions.

In 2006, a police investigation into Field's affairs was announced.

Crown prosecutor Simon Moore asked Mr Robertson if he had any contact with Field after the investigation started.

"I rang him. He was very guarded in his conversation. The case was not discussed at all," Mr Robertson said.

Field's lawyer Paul Davison QC asked Mr Robertson if he had planned to be in Samoa at the same time as Field, so he could be shown around.

Mr Robertson agreed that was the case.

Former police commissioner Rob Robinson also gave evidence of being part of the official delegation to Samoa.

He was taken in the entourage to see Field's house, which he described as a "concrete shell".

Mr Davison QC asked Mr Robinson about the house visit.

"It was not an official visit. The whole process was extremely informal," Mr Robinson said.

Field was expelled from the Labour Party in 2007, continuing to represent Mangere as an independent MP.

The trial is into its 11th week of a scheduled 15 weeks.

Proceeding.

 

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