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First Pacific islander elected to New Zealand parliament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 6, 2009) – The former New Zealand Associate minister for Pacific Island Affairs and MP, Taito Phillip Field, has been sentenced to six years in prison for bribery, corruption and obstructing the course of justice.

Field, who was the first Pacific Islander to be elected a New Zealand MP, was found guilty of 26 of the 35 charges he faced earlier this year.

The jury heard that the former MP for Mangere gave immigration favours to Thai people in return for work on his properties, and creating falsehoods to cover his actions.

Justice Hansen sentenced Field to four years in prison on the 11 corruption and bribery charges and 2 years for the 15 charges of obstructing the course of justice.

Field showed little emotion but had earlier been wiping his eyes, and was taken from the court holding a bible, as supporters called out to him to be strong, and that they loved him.

Justice Hansen told Field he had put his private interests ahead of his public ones, and was prepared to exploit the Thai nationals and cynically use them for his own gain.

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