6 Nov 2009

Thai witness in disgraced MP's case can stay in NZ

1:09 pm on 6 November 2009

The Thai tiler who was a key witness in the case against disgraced former MP Taito Phillip Field has had his request to stay in New Zealand granted.

Sunan Siriwan and his wife Aumporn Phanngarm worked for Field in Samoa, and gave evidence at his trial at the High Court in Auckland this year.

Field was sent to prison for six years on charges of bribery, corruption and obstructing the course of justice.

The Thai couple and their son had been deported from Samoa to Thailand before being brought to New Zealand to be Crown witnesses and had also made attempts to claim refugee status.

In a letter to Mr Siriwan's lawyer, Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson says that the couple have not helped their own situation in the way they have used the New Zealand Immigration system and abused the refugee determination process.

However, Ms Wilkinson says she is prepared to offer them residence, subject to a number of conditions and is granting them two-year open work permits while they attempt to meet them.

Mr Siriwan's lawyer Olinda Woodroofe says the couple is over the moon and the conditions are very fair.

Ms Woodroofe says the couple will continue working in Auckland, where their seven-year-old son is going to school.