Kris, where the hell are ya?


Today marks 214 days since the government was elected and Kris Faafoi landed the job as Immigration Minister.

It’s also how long Queenstown – arguably one of the areas most reliant on foreign labour and home to plenty of migrants – has been waiting to see the bashful minister.

When Tourism Minister Stuart Nash visited the Chamber of Commerce three weeks ago, many business leaders were vocal in calling for another working holiday visa extension and changes to skills visas.

“Do it now,” the audience shouted about working holiday visas, pressing for certainty for their businesses and staff.

“It would be madness not to”, came Nash’s reply, seemingly unaware of the issues until then.

He would march to Faafoi’s office and champion the resort’s call, he told the crowd.

So, when Finance Minister Grant Robertson flew in last week to talk to business leaders, Mountain Scene asked him if the government would fix the working holiday visa impasse.

Robertson said it was in Faafoi’s hands.

So would Faafoi finally visit and see the issues facing the resort for himself?

“I don’t know, has he not been?” Robertson responded, before being told about Scene’s page one

“Oh wow, alright, I’ll pass on the enthusiasm of the people of Queenstown to see him.

“Why wouldn’t he want to come here? It’s a beautiful place.”

Faafoi seemingly has the most-difficult-to-reach office in the Beehive, with Nash, Robertson and National immigration spokeswoman Erica Stanford all promising to invite him.

In fact, mayor Jim Boult’s invited him twice.

But he’s yet to respond.

This week he’s been in Canterbury supporting flooding victims, which quite rightly takes precedence.

Perhaps there’s hope he may choose to dry off in Queenstown? Scene contacted Faafoi’s office on Monday to ask when he might be visiting the resort.

We’ve had no response.