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Kris Faafoi apologises to Jacinda Ardern over 'messy' visa interactions with Opshop singer

MP Kris Faafoi has apologised to the Prime Minister, acknowledging his "messy" interactions with Jason Kerrison over the Opshop singer's stepfather's partnership visa application

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“I got a stern talking to,” the Broadcasting Minister revealed of his conversation with Jacinda Ardern. Source: 1 NEWS

"I was contacted by Jason, who is an old family friend, to see if I could help him with his step-father’s immigration case," Mr Faafoi said. 

"Rather than telling Jason straight away I couldn’t do anything to help him, I said I would look into it; as MPs are allowed to do in these cases.

"I made contact with the Associate Immigration Minister’s Office to seek advice on the appropriate process. They told me to refer him to his local MP and that I could write a support letter."

Mr Faafoi said he told Mr Kerrison to talk to his local MP Matt King.

"I contacted Jason’s mother to offer to write a supporting letter, as I had been advised I could, and got some more details for the letter. However, I never wrote the letter.

"I stupidly created an impression through my messages that I was following up on it when in fact I wasn’t. I was uncomfortable with him messaging me pretty regularly on it and you can see I stopped responding to his texts."

"In hindsight I should have just been clear and told him I couldn’t help and just to deal with his local MP. But aside from checking to see what the proper process was for me to follow I took no other actions, and specifically took no actions to advance it, influence it, or advocate for it."

Mr Faafoi said he acknowledged the situation was "messy and you could read other meaning into my messages".

"But I can hand-on-heart say I wasn’t doing anything to advance the case, and the messages just reflect me not wanting to let a mate down. In hindsight I should have been clearer with him."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released a statement saying she has confidence in Mr Faafoi, "but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner". 

"I’ve told Minster Faafoi I expect better from him.

"His texts created an unhelpful impression that there was some influence he could bring to achieve a favourable outcome. 

"While it may be more comfortable for ministers to give the impression they are helping, I would rather they were upfront and tell people if they can’t assist and give them the reasons why, and point them to someone who can help."

Mr Faafoi released the full text correspondence between himself, Mr Kerrison and also between himself and Mr Kerrison's mother. 

August 5

JK to KF – “Hi bro, I need help. My Mum mums husband has been denied a visitors Visa. They have been in love for 10 years. They married in Kenya almost two years ago. I was there as a witness. Can you direct me to someone who can help her immediately? I’ve never heard her so upset in my adult life mate. I’d never usually ask anything, but its my mum.”

JK to KF – “FYI application number [S9(2)(a)]. I’ll get in touch with the Minister for immigration too. I need to help her. This decision seems very wrong.”

JK to KF – “Sorry for the Freak out…under control nkw Now.

KF to JK – “All good bro I think someone from my office has/is trying to make contact”

JK to KF – “Legend”

October 5

JK to KF – “Hey man, just fyi I’ve copied you into a FB post re the INZ decision against mum and her husband. Hadnt heard from anyone in your office since I last brough it up. Really hoping you can help bro. Kerro”

KF to JK – “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. 

October 7

JK to KF – “Hi mate, just following up here.” 

October 8

JK to KF – “Just being a squeaky wheel bro. Any news?

KF to JK – “Yes – can you please send me his surname and immigration nz file number if you have it?

JK to KF – “APPLICATION #: [S9(2)(a)] CLIENT #:[S9(2)(a)] SURNAME: [S9(2)(a)]

JK to KF – “Hi bro, just checking in. Any news I can pass on? How about that AB’s and Italy game ay?

October 11 

JK to KF – “Hi bro, just checking in. Any news I can pass on? How about that AB’s and Italy game ay?

KF to JK – “Bro I have a plan – but it can’t be plastered over FB. Unfortunately this kind of thing can happen, so I am going to enlist the help of a MP up your way. If I deal with it directly I have a conflict of interest. A warning it is not a fast process. But I will need to give you a buzz. Is Matt King your local MP?”

JK to KF – “ok. Done. He is, bit not hers. She loves in Hamilton. *Lives.”

KF to JK – “I dropped out!”

“Sorry bro – anyways send me those details bro.”

JK to KF – “Me too! all good will do soon bro. Thank you”

KF to JK – “Whanau whanau brother”

JK to KF-  “+64[S9(2)(a)] mum kerro (judy)”

October 17

KF to Judy Kerrison – “Hi Judy, Kris Faafoi here. Let me know a good time to touch base with you. Kris”

October 22

JK to KF – “Hi Kris, Jude here. Just asking if you sent me an email related to the questions you had for my application. Just checking in case I missed it. Thank you for your support. Jude.” 

October 29

JK to KF – “Hi Kris, just off the phone to have we missed a”…(sorry man) just off the phone to mum. Have we missed an email from you? Keen to bring solve for her. Cheers brother” 

October 31 

JK to KF – “Hi bro, hope all is well. Just following up for mum. What do you need me to do? J”

KF to JK – “Hey bro sorry I have been away – unless I have got her email address wrong! Let me check if it bounced”

JK to KF – “Sweet as bro. Email address is [S9(2)(a)]”

November 5 

JK to KF – “Hi Man mums just reminded me to remind you about the letter. Cheers.”

KF to JK – “I’m on it bro”

JK to KF – “Ta man”

November 10 

JK to KF – “Hi bro howre we doing?

November 14 

JK to KF – “Hi Kris, really keen to help mum man. Where are we at? 

November 15

JK to KF – “Whanau whanau mate”

KF to JK – “Bro, its moving. I can’t put anything in writing.” 

November 19

JK to KF – “Hi bro, I get it. Let me know when the best time to talk is.”

November 25

JK to KF – “Just me again bro. Any news for mum and husband for Xmas”

November 26

JK to KF – “I know you’re busy brother, we all are. What do I need to do?”

November 27

JK to KF – “Morena Kris, now it’s just getting weird mate.”

“I’ll have to assume that non communication means no follow up. All good man. I’m sure you did what you could. I’m going to head back to media for some follow up action. Cheers”