Clark says Field's future as MP in doubt

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today the latest allegations against her embattled colleague Taito Phillip Field are "awful" and he should reconsider his future as an MP.

She said it would be hard for Mr Field to continue in the job.

"It's very hard to come back from something like that because the degree of public humiliation has been pretty high," she said.

"I think he is rethinking his options he'll be thinking where he goes from here."

One allegation in the Ingram report into the affair, released last month, was that Mr Field sent Sunan Siriwan, a Thai tiler, to Samoa while the MP helped him apply for a permit to work in New Zealand.

TVNZ's Sunday last night contained new allegations, including a former secretary saying she saw a $100 note given to him by an elderly Samoan woman.

National Party leader Don Brash said Helen Clark and Dr Ingram should state whether they stood by his report, considering the latest allegations.

"Dr Ingram... needs to tell New Zealanders what we should make of his report in light of these revelations," he said.

The new allegations and expansion of issues raised in the report would not be left unchallenged,. "They have the potential to damage the reputations of all members of Parliament. I call on Helen Clark to initiate a process for inquiring properly into these serious matters," Dr Brash said.

Helen Clark said she made it clear from the start that there were "significant problems" with the way he conducted himself as an MP.

She said Mr Field had been punished by not being reappointed as a minister and he had suffered public humiliation since the Ingram report.

"Whether there was anything particularly new last night or just an elaboration of everything that was in the report is another matter but of course it doesn't look good -- it's awful," the Prime Minister said.

Helen Clark said it was hard to know what was in Mr Field's mind when he accepted donations but she said practices at his Mangere electorate office had been tightened up.

Mr Field has said donations were Iafo, a Samoan cultural practice similar to koha (gift). He said the latest allegations were covered by Dr Ingram's report.

- NZPA

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