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Act MP Garrett used dead baby's ID

Published: 11:56AM Wednesday September 15, 2010 Source: ONE News

Act MP David Garrett has made a statement in parliament over an incident uncovered by ONE News regarding his use of a fake identity.

He has revealed the identity he used was that of a deceased child.

"I foolishly undertook a harmless prank 26 years ago... one that was to later have repercussions for me personally and for others who did not deserve to be hurt by my thoughtless actions."

Garrett said he used a method made known in the novel Day of the Jackal, and obtained the birth certificate of a child obtained around the time Garrett was born, but who died in infancy.

"I used this birth certificate to obtain a passport in the child's name. To this day I cannot explain the rationale behind my actions, except to see if such a thing could be done."

Garrett said he never used the passport for any purpose and he later destroyed it.

Garrett was arrested along with others following closer scrutiny of identity fraud because of a case involving Israeli agents.

"I was arrested along with a number of others following a police inquiry into passports which had been wrongfully obtained," he said.

"This inquiry followed the obtaining, by Israelis believed to be connected with that country's intelligence service, of a number of passports using the same method I had used.

"I was duly put before the court and admitted obtaining a passport by false pretences. After submissions by my lawyer, I was discharged  without conviction." Watch David Garrett's statement in parliament .

After leaving the House this afternoon, Garrett ducked into Speaker Lockwood Smith's office for a chat, avoiding media waiting in a foyer to get comment.

Journalists moved up to the corridor outside Smith's office but the Speaker emerged to ask that everyone move back into the foyer.

As Smith had the attention of reporters, Garrett slipped out another door further down the corridor and scurried back into the House.

Garrett's announcement explains why, earlier today, the List MP avoided answering a question from TVNZ political editor Guyon Espiner on whether he had ever pleaded guilty to any other charges in New Zealand.

After a long pause Garrett replied: "Pleaded guilty to any other charges in New Zealand... what are you talking about exactly?"

Espiner clarified for Garrett, a former barrister, that ONE News understood Garrett has been discharged without conviction on a charge of creating a false identity.

Garrett said: "I will comment on that later today." Watch the exchange here.

It is understood Act Leader Rodney Hide knew about the incident before the election.

Hide told ONE News that Garrett had created a fake ID "as a prank or experiment" in the 1980s but it did not reach the courts until 2005. According to Hide, the judge accepted it was the prank of a young man.

The revelation comes just two days after the discovery that Garrett has an assault conviction dating back to 2002, when he was a lawyer in Tonga.

That followed a bar brawl between Garrett and the head of psychiatry at a Tongan Hospital, Mapa Puloka.

Garrett was fined $10 over the incident and Puloka $100.

People cannot become MPs if they have been convicted of an offence that carries a jail sentence of two years or more.

Garrett, who has pushed for a "three strikes, you're out" policy for criminals said earlier this week he was not a hypocrite.

And Act deputy leader John Boscawen said yesterday the party had full confidence in Garrett.

Leader Rodney Hide said he knew about Garrett's Tonga conviction before he stood at the 2008 election.

"He explained the circumstances, they seemed perfectly reasonable to me. David Garrett is a person that's had a rough background, he worked on the oil rigs for 10 years," Hide said.

Garrett was also in trouble last year for making lewd comments to a woman staff member in Parliament.

Do you think David Garrett should resign? Have your say on our messageboard below

- TVNZ Political Editor Guyon Espiner, who broke this story, will have a full report on ONE News at 6pm.
- Act leader Rodney Hide will be live on close up at 7pm tonight.

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  • tubbyt said on 2010-09-17 @ 22:35 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Garrett is gone, now independent. Hide would do well to watch his back. Garrett supported him 100%, and Hide's recent comments are his only reward. The whole situation must make any observer dispair. Let honesty and integrity, be the winners.

  • pragmatic1 said on 2010-09-17 @ 20:39 NZDT: Report abusive post

    A part of me feels sorry for Garrett. What he did was repugnant, but he told the party leader before entering politics. Hide was the one who covered things up from his own people and the rest of NZ. Now, he grasps at straws to throw all blame onto Garrett so he can save his own skin. In my opinion it makes Hide equally dispicable. And as for John Key, who continues to back Rodney Hide and keeps him in top Ministerial roles, knowing that about 99% of NZ doesn't want the ACT party in government...

  • nigel011 said on 2010-09-17 @ 18:16 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Get rid of Act, Criminals! Cant be trusted, sick of the last 12 months and the continued illegal, and untrusting behavour from them. If this is what mr Key wants to represent NZ ,Shame on him. BAN THE ACT PARTY AND ITS POLITIONS FOR EVER, FROM ANY REPRESENTATION FOR NZ. PEACE

  • jifar said on 2010-09-17 @ 17:41 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Rodney Hide's support for Garrett seems only to have disappreaed once the publicity surrounding his past made it untenable to do so. Neither men have any moral code and it will be good for NZ to be rid of them. I can't believe the low standards of public representation we will accept in this country.

  • eegapper said on 2010-09-17 @ 17:08 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I am not an Act Supporter yet I didn't blink an eyelid over the fighting incident as I saw it as the media stirring again. But I can't turn a blind eye to this one even if did happen 20 years ago. Having lost a baby myself I know how I would feel if it was my child's identity. This incident reminds me about the thoughts I have when today's student's get abit carried away; one day they will become our doctor, lawyer or politician - eventually it will come back to bite them on the bum!