Ex-MP Taito Phillip Field's jail time 'eye-opening'

Last updated 05:00 18/10/2011
TAITO PHILLIP FIELD: The former MP was jailed on 11 counts of bribery and corruption.

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Ex-MP Taito Phillip Field says he spent his time in prison observing the penal system from the inside and giving advice to the many who sought his counsel.

Field, who was sentenced to in 2009 to six years for corruption, bribery and perverting the course of justice, was paroled yesterday and returned to his Mangere home.

The former Labour Party member for Mangere would not talk about his convictions citing a pending Supreme Court appeal.

He said he had to be ''guarded'' with his words as he had ''already suffered a media trial before a trial''.

When it was put to him that gaining parole normally meant taking responsibility for your crime he said: ''You'll have to answer that question for yourself.''

''The assessment has been made. I'm just thankful the Parole Board made that decision.''

Field was convicted of helping get work permits for Thai nationals who worked for discounted rates on properties he owned between 2002 and 2005.

The perversion of justice charges related to evidence he gave to an inquiry into the matter.

Yesterday, he said leaving prison was ''just like leaving any other place''.

''Apart from the negative perception in the community and the view of prison it was actually a good experience to see what's actually happening in the Corrections system.''

Field said he had talked to a wide range of people to understand how they ended up in there and how the system treated them.

Asked if he made friends in jail he replied: ''Very much so.''

''A lot of people approached me for advice. They recognised the experience I had in the political world.''

He said it was too early to say what changes he would make to the justice system but ''there's a lot of things I can talk about''.

''My eyes have been opened to a lot of things.''

Field said he did not know if he would stay in touch with the people he met in prison.

He had met ''seven or eight hundred people'' in prison.

''People know where I live. I can't say who's going to turn up."

He spent the day yesterday surrounded by family which was ''very enjoyable''.

Asked if he could see a political future for himself, he said: ''I don't see anything at the moment. I'll leave that up to the good Lord.''

''We're all like any other human being, no different to anyone else. I've got no set plans. I just want to have some time with the family.''

Field's wife Maxine said she was glad to have her husband home.

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''He hasn't been home for two years. He's looking fit and well. He's very strong.''

- Fairfax NZ

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