2 Jul 2009

Field trial hears excerpts from Ingram interview

6:41 pm on 2 July 2009

The jury in the trial of former MP Taito Phillip Field trial has been played excerpts of an interview conducted by Noel Ingram, QC.

Dr Ingram was ordered in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Helen Clark to investigate accusations of wrongdoing, in what became known as the Ingram Inquiry.

The prosecution case is nearing an end in a lengthy trial at the High Court in Auckland, in which Mr Field faces 35 charges of bribery, corruption and obstructing justice.

Dr Ingram interviewed Mr Field in Auckland at the start of his inquiry into accusations the MP helped people with immigration matters in return for work carried out on his properties.

Mr Field told Dr Ingram he had met then-Associate Immigration Minister Damian O'Connor and raised the plight of a Thai man, Sunan Siriwan.

On the tape, Mr Field said he felt Mr Siriwan was genuine and wanted to emphasise that Mr Siriwan's New Zealand-born child was at stake. He said in the interview that he felt obligated to approach Mr O'Connor.

The court was told on Thursday that Mr Field believed Thai workers who carried out repairs on one his homes were simply lending a hand and thanking him for being a good host.

A statement given to Dr Ingram by Mr Field details how he and his wife hosted Thai nationals at his property in Wellington, who then noticed cosmetic damage and offered to fix it.

Mr Field says it did not occur to him to pay them for the repairs and he also did not consider the work some sort of recompense for assistance with a work permit application.