Duncan Garner: Immigration Minister needs to front up

Opinion 02/05/2019

Immigration is important to New Zealand. Without it, it's hard to grow as a country. It adds, people, money, ideas, diversity. 

But, it's a fine balance and we have to get it right.

In Auckland, I think we've gone too far, open gates, unplanned, what a mess. They are crying out for good people with skills in other areas.

Good families to settle here and make it home.

People like Steve Webster and his family from Britain. They got here in 2012 on a two-year entrepreneur work visa, they bought a florist shop and he joined up as a volunteer firefighter and bravely fought the recent Nelson fires.

The Webster family called that city and region "home". 

You'd think they'd done enough to be granted permanent residency, but no.

Despite another attempt Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has said "no", and won't say why for privacy reasons. 

Which, of course, means bugger off home, or stay and work temporarily. 

So they're staying on a short term visa. 

They have proved themselves, surely that needs to be rewarded.

We have every other Tom, Dick and Harry here, but no Steve. What does he need to do? 

It costs thousands to go through this process and people need certainty, Minister.

Lees-Galloway initially allowed a criminal to stay. Then, once caught out, flip-flopped.

It's time to flip-flop again for Webster or at least explain yourself.

The rules were changed to allow a British carpet layer and his family to stay last year, this is no different. 

Minister your judgement has been questioned before and found wanting - has it happened again?

Go on do the right thing.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.