Electorate MP helps Sri Lankan family get residency

Electorate MPs do a lot of work with and for constituents that usually goes unreported and largely unnoticed, but here is a story of a success by rookie Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker (he took over the seat long held by Bill English and short held by Todd Barclay).

This also shows how MPs from different parties work together – in this case Associate Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi.

Stuff: Sri Lankan family get residency after eight-year battle

A year after they pleaded to avoid deportation to Sri Lanka, a Queenstown family have been granted residency and are giving back to the community that supported them.

“I am so happy,” an emotional Dinesha Wijerathne said, while working in her new chef job at the community project Let’s Eat.

Husband Sam Wijerathne, a taxi driver, said they had struggled for eight years to reach a point of certainty for the family.

As they went through the residency application process, Dinesha Wijerathne, the primary visa holder, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and was unable to work.

Their working visa applications were declined and the future looked grim.

Local MP Hamish Walker stepped in too.

He assisted them to appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, buying time for the family, before requesting the Immigration Minister to intervene.

Walker, a first term National Party MP, lobbied Associate Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi.

“Really I must thank him for allowing thIs family to stay in New Zealand,” Walker said.

Good work by Walker, and a good response from Faafoi.



  1. Blazer

     /  October 24, 2018

    PR hard work for hard workers…walk in the Park for the Thiels of the…world.

  2. robertguyton

     /  October 24, 2018

    I have very good friends in Southland who are Sri Lankan.

    • Gezza

       /  October 24, 2018

      I have very good friends next door who are Sri Lankan. They hate Tamils though. It’s a long story.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  October 24, 2018

    Electorate MPs do a bit of work on behalf of their ‘constituents’ … here’s another example –

    ‘Chinese donor’s up-and-comers made JPs’ – Newsroom

    “Following the release of the tape, National has been accused of running a cash for candidacy scheme, and of having Chinese Government interference in the party.

    Chen was nominated by Labour’s Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood – Chen’s local MP.

    Chen attended a fundraising function in July, where Labour MPs Wood and Raymond Huo were present, along with National MPs Jami-Lee Ross, Jian Yang and Erica Stanford. Zhang and Zheng were also present at the fundraiser.*

    The [Jamie-Lee Ross] saga has led to growing calls for a review of electoral financing laws and Chinese Government influence in New Zealand politics.”


    *I wonder if this (sort of thing) might explain Labour’s reticence about investigating electoral financing and Chinese influence? It sounds a bit like the penchant for ‘auctions’ pervades party fundraising events – clearly open to all comers – just like it does property speculation …

  4. PartisanZ

     /  October 24, 2018

    For every ‘good news’ success story I wonder how many family tragedies there are?

    Nobody, including Kris Faafoi, stepped in to save Juliet Garcia from Kaitaia and her husband from being extradited after they’d worked hard in NZ for 11 years …

    “I understand that last year the Government announced a new policy to provide a one-off pathway to residency for about 1600 migrant workers and their families who had been living in the South Island for more than five years, provided they stay in the same industry and region,” Simkins [of Switzer Home] added … Why was this same offer not made to regions such as the Far North, where we struggle to employ sufficient people with the right attitude, aptitude, skills, knowledge and experience to care for our increasing aged population?”

    No sign of Northland MP Matt King here. He musta been too busy campaigning on behalf of truckers for a 4 lane motorway to Whangarei?


    • Gezza

       /  October 24, 2018

      It must be a tuff call being the Immigration Minister. There are always those who will argue for everybody who they know who has no right to be here to be allowed to stay.

      Which would make it pointless having any immigration rules and criteria that are intended to ensure New Zealand gets the migrants it most needs, that they can settle well, and that NZ’s health and education systems and other important services NZers are taxed to pay for are not suddenly overwhelmed and access denied or affected, as a result, for those who were born here or legally admitted as immigrants within the rules.

      Allowing Immigration officials the discretion to decide themselves on an individual who should be allowed to stay and who should not – and ignore the rules or the reasons for them – has been fraught in the past and is never going to be an option.

      In my opinion, NZ’s immigration, appeal, judicial review, and ministerial discretion total system gets it right far more often than not. Big ups to those who have a difficult job.

      Every Immigration Minister I can think under all administration has made what I think are good, carefully considered, weighed and balanced calls, under often difficult circumstances, and without regard to whichever political party or position is held by those who are advocating for the individuals concerned.

      I think this case is just such an example and reflects credit on all involved.

      • Gezza

         /  October 24, 2018

        * this case meaning the one that is the subject of PG’s post.

  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  October 24, 2018

    What mean-spiritedness is displayed here today,

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  October 24, 2018

      Socialism requires mean-spirited immigration laws.

      • Gezza

         /  October 24, 2018

        You would prefer no immigration criteria, or that individual immigration officers were able make numerous discretionary decisions regardless of carefully worked out immigration criteria?

        If so, the first is just silly – ask Maori how that worked for them – and the second is a recipe for corruption. I have commented above on our immigration system.

      • PartisanZ

         /  October 24, 2018

        By “mean spirited” Alan means immigration laws you can’t BUY Miss Kitty.

        Although a comparison of PG’s and my example – Juliet Garcia – might indicate that both major Parties are happy to TRADE immigration laws?

        • Gezza

           /  October 24, 2018

          That case is one which as reported so appears to qualify for the exercise of favourable Ministerial discretion that I am automatically wondering what other facts and information is on the immigration file that are not being disclosed by anyone including the applicant(s).

          • PartisanZ

             /  October 24, 2018

            In today’s political miasma the same could easily apply to a case that does get favourable Ministerial discretion …

            • Gezza

               /  October 24, 2018

              Undoubtedly. But those which are filling a clear unmet community need and also have strong humanitarian aspects and NZ links which would make any person want to approve them, and any Immigration Minister declining them seem unjust, unfair, and unreasonable will have very good reasons why they don’t.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  October 24, 2018