5 Oct 2011

Field to walk free after serving third of jail term

6:15 pm on 5 October 2011

The first New Zealand MP ever jailed for corruption is to be freed from prison after serving two years of his six-year sentence.

Taito Phillip Field, who was Labour MP for first Otara and then Mangere between 1993 and 2007, was sentenced in October 2009 after being found guilty of 11 charges of bribery and corruption and 15 of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He had accepted labour from Thai people whom in his capacity as MP he had helped with immigration matters, and then, during an official inquiry, tried to cover up what he'd done.

Field steadfastly denied all of the accusations during a 16-week trial.

After his first parole hearing on Wednesday, the Parole Board decided he could be safely released from prison in the middle of October but has yet to make public its reasons.

It says however that an offender cannot be kept in jail if they no longer pose a risk to the safety of the community.

Field will be subject to a series of parole conditions until October 2015.

Field's wife, Maxine Gallagher-Field, who was at the hearing alongside her husband, says she's not surprised at the release, as in her view he has served enough time, and is more useful out in the community

Ms Gallagher-Field told Checkpoint her husband has helped others in the prison. She says she expects him home in the next couple of weeks.