TAITO PHILLIP FIELD (Labour—Mangere) : I am delighted that the Ingram report has now finally been completed and that I have been cleared of the serious, false allegations of conflict of interest. Over the past 9 months my personal honesty and integrity have been attacked, and those attacks were extremely unpleasant and hurtful, not only to me but to my wife, family, and community. Yet I have known all along that the allegations were false and defamatory, and I believe that those say more about the accusers than me. I repeat again in this House that the only thing I am guilty of is going the extra mile for those in a desperate situation who come to me for help. This may involve what is implied in the report with regard to the question of judgment, as my colleague who spoke previously mentioned. I can say that I am human and that we all occasionally make mistakes and errors of judgment, but that does not remove the genuine intention to help people in need. It has been frustrating that it has taken so long for my name to be cleared, but, in the end, I am satisfied that justice has been done. I acknowledge and thank God for the guidance he has given me during what has been one of the most difficult periods of my life. My name and my family’s name have been cleared. I am deeply thankful for the loyalty and support of my wife, Maxine, and also of my family, both in New Zealand and overseas—particularly in Samoa. I thank my staff for their support. I say to this House that I am looking forward to taking a break from the unprecedented scrutiny that I have been subjected to in the past 10 months. I want to re-energise myself, and I also need to give some real focus to my family, to my electorate of Mangere, and to the wider community that I represent.
I said in a press statement that when the time was right I would put myself forward for consideration for a ministerial post. I believe that the investigation has taught me a lesson, in some regards, in relation to how we need to be careful, particularly in how we help people. I want to take time to review my practice in helping people and also review the electorate procedures in my electorate office in Mangere.
I extend my thanks to the Pacific and wider community, to my constituents, relatives and friends, and to my Labour organisation in Mangere, all of whom have supported and stood firmly behind me and my family during this difficult period. As most people in this House know, I have the largest voting majority in the country. I believe I have that mandate because I have always helped people in need. This afternoon, in this House, I renew that commitment to continue to help those who really have a genuine need—not only in relation to immigration but in relation to other issues for those within the community who are less fortunate. That is a commitment I renew this afternoon, both to my community and my constituents. This report totally exonerates and vindicates me, and I thank the House for the opportunity to say that this afternoon.