Serious claims against Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi

It may be coincidence but the Broadcasting Minister could be in serious trouble, again, the time Kris Faafoi, who has been accused of abusing power in trying to do a favour for a friend over an immigration application.

The first Minister of Broadcasting in the current Government, Clare Curran, resigned in September 2018 after she made a mess of her job. That wasn’t a surprising crash and burn as Curran was seen as a weak link.

In contrast Kris Faafoi has generally been as one of Labour’s best junior ministers, until now. But yesterday Newshub reported:

‘I’m on it bro’: Messages show Kris Faafoi offering help to friend Jason Kerrison over immigration case

Text messages obtained by Newshub show Faafoi appears to have breached Cabinet rules by offering to help Kerrison with his family’s declined immigration case.

An offer to “speed things up” was among reassurances made by the former Associate Immigration Minister to Kerrison, who spoke to Newshub in October about his step-father’s partnership visa application being declined.

Messages Faafoi sent to the singer of Kiwi band Opshop ask for details of the case before he says he has a plan and promises to talk to the right people.

In one communication on Facebook, Kerrison sent a direct message to Faafoi drawing his attention to a post with Newshub’s article.

Faafoi replied: “Hey bro – I will make a call on Monday. I know it is genuine as I know you travelled for the wedding a few years back. I will talk to the people that can speed things up.”

Kerrison’s mother, Jude Kerrrison, and Mich Obadiah met online in 2009. She’s visited him in Kenya eight times, and they were married in an intimate ceremony more than two years ago.

But Immigration NZ questioned the legitimacy and credibility of their relationship.

“I understand his personal situation to be genuine and I think he did have a case, which is why I offered to speak to his local MP,” Faafoi told Newshub.

Facebook messages between Faafoi and Kerrison show them discussing the immigration case, but he denies offering to do an immigration favour for a friend.

But Faafoi asked Kerrsison to “Yes – can you please send me surname and immagration nz file number [sic]” – which Kerrison did, before the conversation moved to texts.

Faafoi and Kerrison also discussed the case in a Facebook phone call.

When Kerrison thanks him, Faafoi replies “Whanau whanau brother.”

In November the conversation moves to text. Faafoi assures Kerrison “Im on it bri… o (BRO).”

But Faafoi may have a ‘Shane Jones’ defence – that his impropriety didn’t lead to a successful outcome.

But then things go cold.

Kerrison asks: “Hi bro how’re we doing”… “Where are we at” and repeats back to Faafoi “Whanau whanau mate.”

It’s after that on November 15 that Faafoi assures Kerrison, “Bro, its moving. I can’t put anything in writing”.

Faafoi told Newshub on Thursday: “I think he’s been trying to contact me but I haven’t been responding because it wouldn’t be appropriate.”

But while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seems impotent when it comes to NZ First ministers she may be compelled to take action against a Labour minister.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told Newshub she has “clear expectations of her ministers to uphold the highest standards at all times”.

In practice that only seems to apply to Labour ministers. Ardern may want to be seen as tough at least with her own.

 

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38 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  6th December 2019

    If the PM is on to it, the press conference should happen soon after noon today. I would prefer she do her usual nothing for maximum political damage.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th December 2019

      Decisive inaction is the order of the day.

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  6th December 2019

      ‘When it comes to immigration matters there must not be special treatment for some people. Not everyone has a friend in Cabinet they can call to ask for a favour. ‘

      Standard Natz hypocrisy….Dr Jiang Natz M.P and his application…says it…all!

      Reply
      • You can always go the Labour path, and work as an indentured labourer for Philip Taito-Field in exchange for visa.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  6th December 2019

          sent to JAIL….a pariah.

          Reply
          • Hardly. Clark defended him to the hilt. Field was arrested, tried and convicted and Labour just moaned of how terrible it was that his corruption had been exposed. According t them he was just applying some unorthodox methods to aid a constituent.

            Now they defend Jones and his blatant corruption. Leopards sure don’t change their spots and labour can’t lie straight in bed.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  6th December 2019

              Clark did nothing of the …sort…Labour were embarrassed and Field was bitter about their lack of support.

        • Corky

           /  6th December 2019

          That was a beautiful trick shot, Arty.

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  6th December 2019

          Or you go go the National party path , where no one really knows why Peter Thiel got citizenship after only visiting for 15 days. He ‘knew someone’ , but like Trump ‘they cant remember him at all’.
          “He was made a Kiwi citizen in a private ceremony in Santa Monica in August 2011, despite officials conceding he did not live in New Zealand and did not express any intention to move here.”
          Im sure his path was smoothed in the way billionaires do , but he outwitted Joyce and took the money from a Xero share deal.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  6th December 2019

            That is a distorted view of what happened, He had spent time here.

            The minister said much later that he didn’t remember one person out of the thousands who apply; be reasonable. Do they even see all the applications ?

            Thiel made serious investments in NZ.

            Reply
  2. duperez

     /  6th December 2019

    Every claim about a Minister is a serious claim. Naturally a ‘serious’ serious claim means there’s corruption, the Minister should resign or be sacked, and the PM is weak if that hasn’t already happened. And because that hasn’t happened she should resign.

    And if any politician says they’ll do something to help a cuzzy or mate but they’re ‘all piss and wind’ and don’t actually do anything they should resign anyway for leading them on and pretending they’d resolve things.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  6th December 2019

      You forget politicians natural mode is to ‘nod their head’ at requests, then it moves to ‘agree with the person’. Follow up is to ‘ask for details’
      To go out and say to someone raising a partner case – your XXXX has a history of serial marriages to Filipino bar girls/ african princes/chinese students and doesnt have a hope of a new partner visa this time around: That way isnt how politicians work.

      Reply
  3. Corky

     /  6th December 2019

    Good to see Simon being circumspect with his remarks. What Faafoi has in his favour is everyone likes him….even Mikey and Simon talk highly of him.

    Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  6th December 2019

    A lesson in the repercussions of using FB.

    People approach M.P’s for ‘help’ in these sort of matters on a daily basis.

    The average person needs to understand their place.

    A billionaire can pop in for 11 days and be rubber stamped into citizenship .Imagine what non existent due diligence was ordered in that situation.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th December 2019

      The problem is not the politician, it is giving immigration powers to make subjective judgements without a substantive right of appeal for a proper hearing of evidence.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th December 2019

        Immigration’s decision ought to be based on the relevant objective criteria & evidence, but in relationship cases may sometimes have to be based on a subjective decision.

        If INZ refuses someone a Residence Class Visa, they can appeal that decision to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal within 42 days. If that fails they can probably also request the Minister to look at the case – although I expect a Minister generally wouldn’t do so unless it had been to the IPT first.

        It’s not clear whether Kerrison’s step-dad was refused a visitor’s visa or a Partnership Residence one.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  6th December 2019

          Mr Obadiah should be invoking the’ Kenyan culture has arranged marriages’ argument!
          Done and ..dusted.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  6th December 2019

          A proper hearing affords the right to see all evidence being considered and challenge it via cross examination or counter evidence. Those are the fundamentals of natural justice. We have allowed immigration decisions to escape such scrutiny. The consequence is that they are vulnerable to error, prejudice and corruption.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  6th December 2019

            How long do you think immigration applications would take to process if that was the case, how many lawyers & / or judges do you think should be appointed to carry out this task, & who should pay for them, & for their travel overseas to suitable chambers or the visa office, or for the applicants & family & counsel come to NZ for the hearings?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  6th December 2019

              Relationship decisions are sufficiently important to justify natural justice standards. Current processing delays are already far longer than should be required. Costs should be bourne by whoever loses the case as usual.

            • Gezza

               /  6th December 2019

              INZ’s Operational Instructions require their visa officers to observe the principles of fairness & natural justice:
              https://www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual/#35018.htm

              However when checking thru INZ’s website from time to time to find out exactly what rules apply to cases that have come up on YNZ I’ve found their website to be incredibly bitsy, uninformative, confusing, & far too easy to get totally lost in.

              Here’s a page I found on their “Complaints” procedures that’s not even linked to the forms for Residence Visa appeals.
              https://www.immigration.govt.nz/contact/complaints/complaint-about-inz

            • Gezza

               /  6th December 2019

              Relationship decisions are sufficiently important to justify natural justice standards. Current processing delays are already far longer than should be required. Costs should be bourne by whoever loses the case as usual.

              It’s pretty obviously a hugely under-resourced & poorly-managed government service department. There aren’t enuf visa officers or visa offices. And I bet their training is woeful.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  6th December 2019

              Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right that must be properly maintained. Along with acceptable health services this is another continuing failure of our Government.

  5. Gezza

     /  6th December 2019

    The Herald picked it up last night. Their article had a bit more information:

    On October 11 Kerrison checked on the progress being made in the case.
    “Any news I can pass on?” he wrote to Faafoi.

    Faafoi replied, “Bro I have a plan – but it can’t be plastered over FB.”

    “Unfortunately this kind of thing can happen, so I’ve enlisted the help of an MP up your way. If I deal with it directly, I will have a conflict of interest.”

    When thanked by Kerrison, Faafoi replied, “Whānau whānau brother.”
    A few days later, Kerrison texts Faafoi for an update, saying, “Where are we at?”

    Bro it’s moving. I can’t put anything in writing.” Faafoi replied.

    When questioned by Newshub journalists today, Faafoi said it wasn’t a conflict of interest. “He came to me and I said I would speak to the local MP, which I have,” he said.

    A spokesman for Kris Faafoi told The Herald this evening that the Minister will not be commenting on the issue at this stage.

    National leader Simon Bridges said Ardern had serious questions to ask Minister Faafoi about his failure to declare a conflict of interest.

    “Minister Faafoi acknowledged in his messages that if he dealt with it, it would be a ‘direct conflict of interest’ and asked his friend not to go public about it. He knew it would be a breach of the Cabinet Manual,” he said.

    “When it comes to immigration matters there must not be special treatment for some people. Not everyone has a friend in Cabinet they can call to ask for a favour. What’s really sad for the Prime Minister is that Kris Faafoi appeared to be one of her only competent Ministers. Now, even he’s let her down. She needs to immediately ask Mr Faafoi what went on here.”

    So far we’re only seeing the juicy bits. It looks as though Faafoi has tried to do the right thing by contacting the relevant electorate MP to make representations to Immigration NZ or the Immigration Minister but his reported comms with Kerrison make it appear he promised to get Kerrison’s step father’s application expedited, & maybe approved.

    Audrey Young last night also had a paywalled opinion piece on how much trouble is he really in? Haven’t seen that.

    There may be other information yet that could exonerate Faafoi, but it shows the problems any of them can have these days when so many of their texts & social media comments can get seen & reported. And how careful they should be in what they say. Too brief a message can look really bad.

    At the moment Jacinda’s best high flier has suddenly got sparks in the engine & is trailing smoke.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  6th December 2019

      Just needs to change from high octane ,back to…91 and all will be well.

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  6th December 2019

      We haven’t seen the really juicy bits yet. The really juicy bits are when there’s CPR on the corpse when it’s been cut down from the tree, with amongst the wailing, “We knew there was nothing sinister to the story, we knew you were honourable, we knew you wouldn’t have erred, we didn’t mean it to end like this.” With smiles on the faces.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th December 2019

        I think you’re starting to blither now. It’s curious that Stuff doesn’t seem to have picked this story up at all yet.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  6th December 2019

          Of course I’m not blithering. There is an effort to cast Faafoi as corrupt. Blood on the floor is good.

          I see on Herald another non-clicker: ‘Celebrities get influence’: Bridges slams Labour over Faafoi case.”

          The level of pathetic is shown by the Herald, which we keep hearing from upset people is left-biased, having the Earth shattering revelation that celebrities get influence.

          That being highlighted by a undoubtedly totally shocked Simon Bridges is the height of absurdity. Hell Simon, we didn’t realise some get the better end of the stick. Actually just recently when I was chatting with Peter Thiel …

          Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  6th December 2019

    A good summary of the options Jacinda likely has in this case, & the difficulties, from Matthew Hooton, in this audio interview:

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/audio/matthew-hooton-pm-has-one-rule-for-labour-ministers-and-another-for-nz-first/

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  6th December 2019

      Hooten ? Is he even back from London yet where he has been studying for his MA ?
      Let me guess , they are a bunch of incompetents

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  6th December 2019

        He’s a competent commentator. I’m surprised you aren’t an avid fan. It was he who called for an investigation into National Party corruption.

        Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  6th December 2019

    Very odd. Stuff finally puts up a short article date timed 10.26 am, and the only video/audio is an unrelated one of Kris answering questions about yesterday’s fuel companies & prices announcement.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117990267/broadcasting-minister-kris-faafoi-promised-to-speed-up-immigration-process-for-opshop-singer-jason-kerrison

    Reply
  8. Corky

     /  6th December 2019

    ”Bro, I have a plan.” Quintessential NZ nepotism, and maybe a lexical taonga for future generations of Kiwis to use and enjoy when they are high as a kite.😊

    That’s one common thread with most dakheads…they always have a plan.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  6th December 2019

      I hope that you are not implying that Kris Faafoi is a drug user.That’s a serious allegation.

      Reply
  9. Gezza

     /  6th December 2019

    Celebrities expect to be treated as such I guess.

    Faafoi had, in recent weeks, stopped responding.

    “Morena Kris, now it’s just getting weird mate,” a final message from Kerrison reads.

    “I’ll have to assume that non communication means no follow up … I’m going to head back to media for some follow up action.”

    Faafoi apologised to Kerrison and his family for not following through and assisting them.

    Ardern said she had confidence in Faafoi as a “hardworking and effective” minister, but he should have better dealt with this.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/118000681/minister-kris-faafoi-apologises-for-promising-to-speed-things-up-for-opshop-singer

    Wonder why Kerrison didn’t get in touch with Matt King as it seems he was supposed to do.

    Reply

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