Justice Hansen’s official sentencing notes in the case of The Queen v Phillip Hans Field (a.k.a former Member of Parliament, Taito Phillip Field) are now online and make for some interesting reading.
To begin with, as I read through, I could see Field’s supporters angle; he helped a couple of people out, they thanked him by offering to do some work for him, seems harmless enough. However, when this pattern was repeated over and over and over by people needing immigration help who just happened to have house renovating skills and who just happened to take holidays near Field’s houses, which are scattered around New Zealand and overseas, and whilst on these holidays undertook largely unpaid work as tokens of appreciation and gratitude which then sees Field able to make large profits on the sale of his renovated houses it starts to look suss. Especially given the immigration hassles of these people just happened to go away around the same time as their free work for Field.
Clearly a perception grew in certain communities that the way to get immigration hassles sorted in New Zealand was to do free house renovation work for the Immigration Minister. This is not a good look and I can see why it attracted investigation and why the court found Field guilty of bribery, corruption and perverting the course of justice.
Field’s lawyers are talking appeals so it will be interesting to see what their angle is if they proceed.