New Zealand's proud record of ''incorruptible public servants'' had been tarnished by a former Department of Internal Affairs worker with a gambling problem.
Judge Jill Moss made this point as she sentenced Adam James Ranginui, 30, to 250 hours community work and six months supervision after stealing approximately $3500 in application fees from people wanting to become New Zealand citizens.
Ranginui earlier pleaded guilty in the Hutt District Court to four charges of theft by a person in a special relationship while working at the DIA.
Judge Jill Moss described Ranginui's offending as one of significant public interest because he had tarnished New Zealand's proud record of ''incorruptible public servants".
She said the money had been stolen from people applying to become New Zealand citizens.
Ranginui's gambling addiction had got on top of him and he needed to cure himself of the addiction.
Judge Moss said Ranginui would forever have to live with his conviction, but he did deserve some credit for co-operating with the Department of Internal Affairs inquiry and making early guilty pleas.
Ranginui's lawyer Craig Foster said his client had agreed to a reparation repayment programme.
Foster said Ranginui had lost his job and his family would suffer considerable adverse consequences because of that.
- The Dominion Post