Inquiry questions MP Field's judgment

MP Taito Phillip Field has been cleared of any conflict of interest as a minister, but a report into his dealings raises several questions over his conduct.

The long-awaited report, which cost $479,000, found Mr Field did not properly pay a Thai immigrant who did tiling work on his house in Samoa after Mr Field took up his case for a visa.

Nor did he pay market rates for a painting work done on several of his houses by another Thai immigrant he had helped.

The report found Mr Field did not take advantage of a family in Mangere, Auckland. He bought a house from them after they came to him for help when they faced a mortgagee sale.

Mr Field later sold the house for a $136,000 profit.

However, the report said the sale looked bad and questioned Mr Field's judgment in relation to the matter.

Noel Ingram QC said in his report: "In the circumstances, while an unfortunate perception may attach to Mr Field’s conduct in purchasing 51 Church Street from [the family]…– a perception which may raise an issue relating to the judgment of Mr Field – as a result of good fortune, rather than good management on the part of Mr Field, I do not consider that Mr Field in fact took advantage of the position of [the family]."

Prime Minister Helen Clark said in a statement the report did not find wrongdoing by Mr Field, but it implied "errors of judgment".

She said: "The Labour Party leadership and parliamentary whips will be working with Mr Field on the issues raised, in particular on the need for a Member of Parliament to keep personal and professional distance from those being advocated for and on the adverse perception which may attach to the practice of lafo when gifts are received."

Mr Field said in an accompanying statement he looked forward to continuing working for his community and Mangere constituents.

- NZPA, NZHERALD STAFF

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