Thursday, September 29, 2005

More possible corruption from Field

One News last night had new allegations against Taito Philip Field - this time that he had helped another Thai overstayer gain residency in exchange for painting several houses. Like the first case, this is dodgy as hell, and should be fully investigated. There's nothing wrong with helping overstayers to normalise their status (and in fact, I think its a Good Thing, especially where they have skills in short supply) - but asking for or accepting a quid pro quo in exchange is corruption, is illegal, and ought to be prosecuted.

As with the previous case, Field has issued a flurry of statements, including from the person he helped. But given that the statements from the Cole family appear to have been extracted by bullying and standover tactics, I'm not sure how far they can be trusted. Something else for Dr Ingram to investigate, I think.


Whatever happens with the Field debacle I feel awfully sorry for Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

There has been a history of media interest and scandal around the Labour Maori MPs, fuelled by the right and its agenda over ethnicity. Some of the scandals have turned out to be correct, some incorrect, and some partially correct. Either way the right and the media seem to be gunning for our brown skinned MPs in a way they don't for the Pakeha. Many of us are aware of scandals, at least as big as the one surrounding Field, which have never had the airtime that this one has.

I can't figure out whether it is racial bias from the media, or just the accurate reporting of news stories brought up by people/parties who cynically choose to use ethnic stereotypes for their political advantage.

But either way, at the moment Laban, and her Maori colleagues, must feel like there are bulls-eyes painted on them, their partners and their children.

Does this excuse anything that Field, Samuels or Tamihere did? Nope, not at all.

But we shouldn't ignore the context; the way these stories are used to paint a larger picture, and the way that picture is used to create divisiveness and intolerance.

And we should feel some sympathy for people who are attacked because of their skin colour. If a pakeha MP could get away with it (or something equivalent) and a Maori or PI one can't then we need to address the racism that illuminates.

Posted by Anita : 9/29/2005 12:23:00 PM

New Zealand' Immigration System is already completely corrupt. In Wellington there are free Newspaper front organisations that charge Chinese immigrants ~$30,000 for "guaranteed" residency. They will end up getting "skilled migrant" placings in basic jobs such as sales or working in takeaways.

When I investigated this issue with a reporter from the Sunday Star Times, the reporter found that the organisations that were accepting the immigrants did not know that these "international recruiting agents" were charging so much for these placements and sending fake letters to the immigration department on their behalf. Terry Pawson, head of NZIS fraud department, said to the SST that he was powerless to solve this problem. Which sounds like a cop-out to me.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/29/2005 01:04:00 PM


I am not saying that Field (or anyone else) should be shielded from the consequences of their actions by their skin colour.

However, we all know stories of Pakeha MPs who have done equally dodgy things without this kind of air time.

IMHO we need to ask two and a half questions:

1) Why is it more newsworthy when a brown-skinned MP screws up? We should ask that because it may tell us something about our society that we mightn't like and should fix.

2) How much exposure should MPs who screw up get? And what do we need to do to make sure _all_ of them get it, no matter what skin colour they have?

If anything, I think I am arguing that Pakeha MPs are more shielded from public scrutiny. I don't like to think it is directly (overtly?) their skin colour; but maybe it's their connections, or their knowledge of the Pakeha media game, or the power of their friends, or the fact that they're not part of the racial agenda some people are running.

Posted by Anita : 9/29/2005 04:33:00 PM

I am amazed at idiots credulity in his comments over this affair. Methinks he has been far, far to quick to judge. The Coles are not talking to ANY OTHER media EXCEPT TVNZ. The story has led Susan Wood's spiteful piece of info-tainment three nights in a row. It doesn't take Einstien to work out out on what ($$$) basis the Coles are duitfully feeding the appropriate headlines to TVNZ.

I agree with Anita.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/30/2005 09:57:00 AM


I have no intention of getting either I/S or me sued for defamation, so I'm a little tied up here.

But take, as an example, Samuels pissing himself in a hotel corridor (having been drinking, having been locked out of his room when he desparately needed to go) and Peck (crashing his car while driving drunk). The media's coverage of the two incidents was incredibly different - there are lots of complicating factors, but I can't help feeling that Samuels had a much rougher time from the media (and his parliamentary opposition colleagues) than Peck did.

Posted by Anita : 9/30/2005 10:34:00 AM


I'm not trying to minimise or excuse Field's behaviour. IMHO he was, at the absolute least, incredibly unwise in some of his decision making. It wouldn't surprise me if the current enquiry comes out with a stronger criticism.

What I am saying is that I have a hunch that if Field was a Pakeha MP who had, for example, paid a constituent very little to do fencing work on his farm while the MP tried to help the constituent sort out a their immigration status it wouldn't have this level of media coverage. It wouldn't be any less dodgy, but I don't think either the news media or the right would be making such a case out of it.

Similarly, I find it hard to believe Field is the only MP to have ever bought something from a constituent in financial difficulty. It doesn't make it a less unwise or unacceptable thing to do. I am just wondering about the the relationship between skin colour and headline size (and expressed outrage from the right).

Posted by Anita : 9/30/2005 10:48:00 AM


Nope, I didn't mean criminal. I meant that at the absolute least he has done some very unwise (read stupid if you like) things. It is possible that those things are criminal, but I'm not yet sure of criminality - partly because some things are still disputed, and partly because I still can't figure out which pieces of legislation he would have breached.

Posted by Anita : 9/30/2005 03:15:00 PM

I don't think you can blame NZIS because people fraudulently claim to be able to fiddle the system. That's like blaming the cops because someone makes an unwarranted claim to be able to jam speed cameras.

However, if our immigration procedures were simpler and more transparent there would be less need to fiddle the system.

Posted by Rich : 9/30/2005 04:04:00 PM