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Turia: Urgent Debate on Phillip Taito Field Report

Urgent Debate: Phillip Taito Field cleared of conflict of interest

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

18 July 2006

The Maori Party stands today, delighted, that Phillip Taito Field is cleared through the inquiry into conflict of interest allegations against him.

The Hon Taito Phillip Field brings to this House a history, a distinctive character, which can only enhance the quality of the debate in this debating chamber.

He is a politician who brings the cultural strength of Samoan, Cook Island, German, English and Jewish whakapapa to the issues that come before us.

He was bestowed title of Taito, paramount Chief of the Village of Manase, Savaii, Samoa in 1975.

He is the first MP of Pacific Island descent in the New Zealand Parliament.

He is a politician who brings the constituency of Mangere into this Parliament.

I was interested in the release from Mr Field this morning, which referred to his relief that ‘justice has been done’.

And the Maori Party is interested in this concept of due justice - not a concept one automatically associates with political parties.

But in this case, the expertise of Noel Ingram QC has been listened to and accorded respect.

Justice has been done.

Mr Brownlee in opening this debate, has spoken about a code of conduct for a Minister, for an MP. Well my goodness, let’s hope the Code of Conduct comes out soon.

The report from Mr Ingram recognises that Mr Field did make some errors of judgement, but concluded there was no conflict of interest and that Mr Field was at all times co-operative with the inquiry. Indeed, the type of conduct befitting one of his status.

We must be big enough in this House to acknowledge when errors are made, that mistakes do occur, and none of us can pretend to be perfect.

And I know that too well, from having made mistakes myself when I was a Minister, and I learnt from those mistakes.

Madam Speaker, an independent inquiry has been completed. A very expensive and long-winded analysis of all matters impacting on the personal honesty and integrity of this MP.

Mr Field has had the courage to admit he made mistakes. He has put on record, his commitment to ensuring he will be more careful about how he helps people and intends to review his own practices and the procedures of his electorate office. What more can we ask?

We have a responsibility in this Parliament, to demonstrate leadership, to act as we would want our nation to emulate.

Yet day after day, and even in this very debate, personal attack, offence, belittling of individuals, takes place on either side of the chamber.

Many times we are too quick to judge, to crucify personally.

And those who live in glasshouses should not throw stones, a lesson I learnt as a child.

The Maori Party comes to every debate to speak to the issues and the policies not the personalities.

We respect the courage of Mr Field, we mihi to him and his whanau, and we ask all in this House to have the compassion and the foresight, to commend the way in which he has maintained his integrity in very trying times.

Tena koutou katoa.


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