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Even more questions in Visa-gate

Hon. Tony Ryall MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman
15 September 2005

Even more questions in Visa-gate

National’s Immigration spokesman, Tony Ryall, says more questions need to be answered in the Visa-gate affair concerning Associate Pacific Island Affairs Minister Taito Philip Field and his Thai tiler.

Mr Ryall says it seems Labour has created a new immigration category – that of Minister’s Personal Tiler.

“The only qualification is that the applicant needs to have worked on a Minister’s house, speaks very poor English, and can get extra points if he or she has already been kicked out of the country once.

Mr Field tried to get help from Associate Immigration Minister Damien O’Connor to grant work permits for an overstayer and his wife after the man did some work on Mr Field’s house in Samoa.

Mr Ryall says these questions should be answered:

1. Are Immigration Minister Paul Swain’s recollections of visiting the house the same as the others at that meeting?
2. How did Mr Field obtain a Samoan work permit so quickly for the tiler?
3. Was information on this matter laid before the police some months ago?
4. Did Helen Clark ask Mr Field if he has personally benefited from the deal?

“There appears to be a ministerial conflict of interest here. The Cabinet Manual says: ‘Ministers must ensure that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their public duty and their private interests.’”

“There is one last question that must be asked: Why is Helen Clark not acting over this issue? She has been strangely quiet as allegations have swirled around her Minister.

“It is clear that there should be a judge-led inquiry into this affair as there is a gaping hole in the evidence. It is still unclear what Ministers said in Samoa.”


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