New Zealand's first slavery trial has entered a 5th and intended last week with a Hastings agricultural contractor claiming accusers were offered money and permanent residency to lie against him.
The claims were by 65-year-old Joseph Auga Matamata, also known as Viliamu Samu, under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker late on the second day of his evidence in a Napier High Court trial which started on February 10.
Matamata alleged immigration officers had offered money and permanent residence for the accusers to lie in court.
"They tried to get my niece to say the same thing," he said, but the claims of abuse and assaults were lies, he said, reiterating claims they were all too lazy to work for the money they wanted in New Zealand.
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Clayton questioned Matamata whether any witnesses had been asked about claims of corruption.
Witnesses have alleged beatings, from ages as young as 12, and use of an array of weapons, including a pair of secateurs being lodged in one boy's arm, all on people brought from Samoa to work in the horticultural industry. There have also been allegations of not being paid.
Asked if he had ever done anything in the away of abuse, threats or violence against specified witnesses to make them fear being seen talking with people other than his family, he said he could not read their minds or what they were thinking.
Matamata had come to New Zealand as a 21-year-old in 1976, the jury had been told, and offences are alleged to have occurred over a period of 25 years, with Matamata now denying 13 charges of dealing in slaves and 11 of people trafficking.