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Police search offices of Taito Phillip Field MP

27 October 2006

Police search offices of Taito Phillip Field MP

The police this morning executed a search warrant as part of its investigation into the activities of Mangere MP Taito Phillip Field.

The search involved material held in both his parliamentary and electorate offices.

The search was executed in accordance with the terms of a search warrant under a protocol between the Speaker and the Commissioner of Police.

The Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson, said this situation had not arisen before and the protocol with the Commissioner was an interim one.

‘I will make a statement to the House when it resumes sitting after next week’s adjournment,’ she said. ‘The protocol will be referred to the Privileges Committee for consideration.’

The protocol is based on the New South Wales model.

‘It is designed to ensure that any search warrant is executed without improperly interfering with the functioning of Parliament,’ Ms Wilson said.

‘It recognises that parliamentary privilege does not confer any general legal immunity on a Member of Parliament.

‘Members of Parliament are not exempt from prosecution, nor may evidential material be placed out of the reach of the police.’

The protocol stated that a search should not take place when the House was sitting. The timing was a matter for the police, and search warrants had to be authorised by the court.

The protocol ensured that any claim of parliamentary privilege, in relation to physical or electronic documents would be protected.

Under the protocol, police met with the Acting Clerk of the House this morning. The police, accompanied by a representative of Parliamentary Service, sealed the offices of Taito Phillip Field. This was necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation. The protocol also gave time for Taito Phillip Field to obtain legal advice.

A copy of the protocol between the Speaker and the Commissioner of Police is available from the Speaker’s Office.

ENDS

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