Former Labour Party minister Taito Phillip Field, the first MP of Pacific Island descent, has died.
Field, 68, died on Thursday morning at Auckland Hospital, Stuff has confirmed.
The Samoan-born MP served as Minister of State and as associate minister of justice, pacific island affairs, and social development, under the Helen Clark Labour Government.
His political career was tarnished in 2007, when he was charged with corruption. He was jailed for six years in 2009, on 11 charges of bribery and corruption and 15 charges of attempting to obstruct or pervert the course of justice.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday afternoon said “everyone will be familiar with the latter part of his political career”.
“But, ultimately today, his family have lost him, and the first Pacific MP in New Zealand, and so I do want to acknowledge that.”
Field was born in Apia, Samoa, in 1952 and came to New Zealand at 7 years old. His biography published by Parliament said he was married and had two children.
He was educated at Tawa College, in Wellington, and at Victoria University, before working at Treasury and as a union official.
I didn’t know he once worked at Treasury.
At the time of his passing, I reflect again on the maxim that you shouldn’t judge someone by the worst thing they ever did, but by their overall contribution over time. My condolences to his family and friends.