23 Sep 2021

Former Minister Taito Phillip Field has died aged 68

2:02 pm on 23 September 2021

The former Associate Pacific Islands Affairs Minister, Taito Phillip Field, has died at the age of 68.

Mangere MP Taito Phillip Field arrives at the Auckland High Court to attend a hearing in which his legal team will fight bribery and corruption charges against him June 20, 2007 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Taito Phillip Field in 2007. Photo: Getty Images

Samoan-born Field was a Member of Parliament for South Auckland electorates from 1993 to 2008, and he was the first MP of Pacific Island descent.

He was also the first New Zealand politician to be found guilty of corruption and bribery charges.

"I do want to acknowledge Taito Phillip Field's passing," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at today's press conference. She noted his career had been controversial.

"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 a minister outside Cabinet in a Labour-led government from 2003 to 2005.

He left the Labour Party in 2007 after efforts to formally expel him were undertaken, and returned to Parliament as an independent.

Following charges of bribery and perverting the course of justice, he was defeated in the 2008 New Zealand General Election.

Field was sentenced to six years in prison in 2009, after being found guilty of 11 charges of bribery and corruption and 15 of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The charges were laid after he had work done by Thai people he helped with immigration matters. He then tried to cover that up during an official inquiry.

He was granted parole in 2011.

He was the first New Zealand MP ever to be jailed for corruption charges.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs