Identity thief wants your vote

By Simon Plumb

Savea Peseta Al Harrington Lavea says he'll get votes because people are ready to "forgive, forget and move on".
Savea Peseta Al Harrington Lavea says he'll get votes because people are ready to "forgive, forget and move on".

A council hopeful convicted of stealing the identities of dead babies' to get fraudulent passports will stand as an independent candidate in October's local body elections.

Savea Peseta Al Harrington Lavea says he'll get votes because people are ready to "forgive, forget and move on".

In 2008, Lavea and his younger brother, Romney, were convicted of stealing the identities of seven dead children.

The pair admitted seven charges of forgery and another seven of using a forged document, relating to offences that stretched back to the late 1990s. Lavea was sentenced to six months' home detention and ordered to pay $5000 reparation for emotional harm.

Last week Lavea stood down from his candidacy for Auckland Future after the Herald on Sunday revealed his background.

But he is now standing as an independent for the Whau ward.

"Don't you believe in second chances?

"People are ready to forgive, forget and move on to better things," Lavea told the Herald on Sunday.

"I've passed beyond whatever was done, it was non-intentional and I was very sad about it all.

"We have to move on."

He suggested linking his criminal history to his candidacy was "politically motivated".

"I can understand that, politics is a dirty game."

Lavea said his manifesto would be based on "the same values that I have. Non-violence ... a prosperous, safe community, offering a better deal with rates."

At Lavea's sentencing in 2008, the father of one of the dead babies told the Herald his wife died just months after learning of the theft of her infant son's name.

Brian Thrussell said his son, Phillip Evan Thrussell, lived for only 26 hours after his birth in 1960.

On Sunday he said it was "beyond belief" that Lavea would be elected.

"He should be able to seek public office but under no circumstances should he be able to get it."

"Anyone who would do the sort of thing he did cannot be trusted."

On his Facebook page this week, where Lavea promotes his candidacy, he addressed his supporters.

"To all my dear Families and Friends, dear fans and supporters, Ladies and Gentlemen ... God is good, thank you Lord for giving me a second chance to fulfil my aspirations to serve my people by standing for this election despite the negative character assassination motivated by political malice attack."

- Herald on Sunday

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