Former Labour MP Taito Phillip Field has been sentenced to six years jail. He got four years for bribery and corruption and two years for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
He is the only MP to ever be convicted for crimes in his capacity as an MP.
The sentence is a bit longer than what I thought he would get, but entirely appropriate considering the nature of the offending- the fact he did it as an MP, using his office as an MP.
In total Field was found guilty on 26 charges.
The sentencing of Field is effectively the last chance for Labour to apologise for their defence of Field. I blogged on their woeful actions in defending him, and attacking those who exposed him, when he was found guilty. One can forgive them their initial defence before the facts were known, but they behaved shamefully after the Ingram Report came out, exposing what he had done. Dr Cullen repeated the line that all he is guilty of is working harder than the National MPs opposite. The smugness in the face of such a damning report was part of why Labour lost. Helen did not even rule out that he may return as a Minister – and again this is after she read the report.
UPDATE: Labour have put out a PR:
Deputy Labour Leader Annette King made the following statement on the sentencing today of Taito Phillip Field.
“This sentence demonstrates that all New Zealanders are equal under the law.
“Taito Phillip Field has been judged by his peers. He must now serve the sentence handed down in the Auckland High Court.”
Labour will not be making any other comment on this matter.
Why not? This offending happened while he was a Labour MP. It was not incidental to his job. this was not offending in his spare time. This was corruption relating to his job. And Labour defended him when this wrongdoing was exposed by Ingram. That may be embarrassing, but that is not a reason to refuse comment. I hope the media are not spineless on this, and allow Labour to get away with no comment. There is no way they would let John Key not comment if one of his MPs was convicted of corruption *as an MP*. The next time Phil Goff does a press conference, or media standup, or walks down the corridor to the House, he should be asked if Labour regrets defending Taito Philip Field after he Ingram report came out.Tags: corruption, Labour, Taito Philip Field