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New Zealand MP quits after admitting passport fraud


Wellington: An embattled New Zealand legislator, who confessed to have obtained a false passport stealing the identity of a dead child, Friday resigned from his party and took two weeks’ leave from parliament.

David Garrett resigned from his ACT Party less than two days after he admitted in parliament Wednesday that he used the child’s identity in 1984 to get the passport, according to Radio New Zealand.

Garrett said he got the idea after reading the method in a bestselling thriller “The Day of the Jackal” written by British novelist Frederick Forsyth.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand Friday, Garrett said while his political career is almost certainly over, his main concern is re-opening the wounds of the child’s family.

“The worst aspect of all of this for me is that those who have seen fit to do so have opened the wounds of the boy’s mother and sister all over again. As the person who inflicted those wounds in the first place, however unwittingly, I must take ultimate responsibility for that,” Garrett said.

Garrett is taking two weeks’ leave from parliament to consider his future. But Prime Minister John Key has said the MP should listen to the New Zealand public who want him to quit parliament altogether.

Key said he was not concerned about the stability of ACT Party, which is one of the National Party government’s support groups.

However, the prime minister said if Garrett remained in parliament, National will not seek to reach any sort of support arrangement with him.

Meanwhile, ACT Party leader Rodney Hide has said he regrets the hurt caused to the victims of Garrett’s passport fraud and admits he was wrong to support him as a candidate.

Hide said he regrets his lack of judgement in supporting Garrett’s candidacy and did not think through the consequences for the child’s family. Hide says as leader of the ACT Party, the buck stops with him.

Labour Party deputy leader Annette King said the voters of Epsom will judge whether Hide, who represents the electorate in parliament, should bear any blame for the scandal.