'Gay' Labour has lost its way, says Field

SIMON DAY
Last updated 05:00 25/11/2012
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TAITO PHILLIP FIELD: Jailed over bribery and corruption charges, Field has come out swinging at the Labour party.

CLIMATE CHANGE 'HARD FOUGHT ISSUE': Former prime minister Helen Clark speaks at Victoria University in Wellington.
MAARTEN HOLL/ Fairfax NZ
'CAUSE OF AN INFESTATION': Former prime minister and Labour leader Helen Clark. Taito Phillip Field says she infested the party with homosexuality.
David Shearer
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
DAVID SHEARER: Labour leader.

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Already under pressure from internal ructions, the Labour Party leadership has been given a mauling by disgraced former MP Taito Phillip Field.

Just over a year after his release from prison, Field, who compared himself with South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, weighed in on Labour's recent struggles, saying the party has lost its way and been "contaminated" by liberal policy.

The former Helen Clark government, in which he was a minister, had infested the party with homosexuality, Field said.

"There is a perception that they are controlled by homosexuals. It's like a smell that won't go away."

He said the former government's focus on issues like prostitution, civil unions and anti-smacking distracted from the important issues and was the "death nail in the coffin of the Labour Party".

"You are going to have a generation of children grow up who think it is OK to have two mums and two dads. This is a contradiction of the word of God.

Field said Labour has betrayed the Christian working class.

"I don't know how long it will take for them to recover, if they can. I can't see them getting back in 2014, or the election after."

Although controversial and bluntly stated, his views are shared by a large swathe of Auckland's Pacific Island community who still held Field in high regard and were a key part of Labour's support base, said South Auckland social worker and former friend James Papli'i.

"He would be representing the wider Pacific community but they wouldn't be coming out as strongly," he said. "He has been incarcerated for a long time and had a long time for thinking. Maybe he feels the time for being diplomatic is not now."

The former Mangere MP was jailed for six years in October 2009 after he was found guilty of 11 charges of bribery and corruption and 15 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Field insists he is innocent and the charges and conviction were the result of corruption because he stood up to the government.

"It's not uncommon for people to end up in my situation for standing up for what they believe in," he said.

"Nobody wants to go to prison, but Mandela was imprisoned for 26 years. Who I am to complain?"

He maintains that the undervalued work done on his property by Thai tradesmen, who he helped with immigration to New Zealand, was a mere discount between friends, not an act of bribery.

"They were friends, they were like extended family. I paid what they told me to pay, what's the crime?"

Field cited John Banks' mayoral campaign donation by Kim Dotcom, and Helen Clark signing a painting she didn't paint for charity, as "prima facie" examples of corruption and fraud.

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"Kim Dotcom is a millionaire so he is beginning to expose the corruption."

In prison Field said he had respect from both inmates and staff, many who sought his advice and knowledge. "They came to me and I helped them with parole, immigration law, reunification with families - because I helped write that immigration law."

Since his release, Field and his family are "surviving OK" and he is working on property development projects in New Zealand and Samoa.

He owns a number of properties in South Auckland, according to the Companies Office.

"But because I'm innocent and had to defend myself, we are struggling. It has already cost me over $1 million to defend myself."

Field said he still has the full support of the Pacific Island community. He believes Auckland must embrace its Polynesian identity to generate jobs and pride in the cultures of the Pacific. And the community would take him back, according to Papli'i.

"He is a leader and he definitely has a following. Pacific people still look up to him," he said.

"It won't be in politics, but there will always be a place for him."

Field is writing a book about his experience in Parliament and prison.

- Sunday Star Times

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