Issue 429 December 15, 2019
Cabinet Minister Kris Faafoi got into trouble last fortnight with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the media for something that he did not do.
He did not ask Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to approve an application of the stepfather of his friend (Jason Kerrison)- an application that has already been declined.
All he did was to engage in unguarded text messages with his friend.
Everyone, from Prime Minister to Opposition Leader Simon Bridges gave Faafoi a piece of their mind; some even demanded his resignation.
Sometimes, we carry our so-called clean image too far.
The right to inquire
We dare say that Ministers and Members of Parliament should have the right to recommend cases as representatives of people. As lawmakers they have (or should have) the right to interfere in the immigration process, although sparingly.
It is in fact the duty of MPs to inquire into the status of applications relating to their constituents or communities that they serve.
Asking these public servants to lay off immigration is a bit thick.
Mr Faafoi said that he was told by advisers he could support the case, but could not advocate for it. He said he therefore didn’t write any letter to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and instead got in touch with the musician’s local MP Matt King (National Party), who agreed to champion the case.
Immigration is a double-edged sword. It will cut you either way.
Or putting it differently, you are damned if you did and damned if you did not.
More than two years ago, New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said that after 32 years of the neo-liberal experiment the character and the quality of our country has changed dramatically, and much of it for the worse.
For those who try to refute that statement let them give us the evidence of how we have risen in the graphs of real economic comparisons and not have countless alternative facts susceptible to various sociological interpretations and beloved only in the eye of the beholder, he asked.