Duncan Garner: Kris Faafoi's rise through Labour's ranks well-deserved

Opinion 28/06/2019

How exciting for Parliament's newest cabinet minister, former journalist Kris Faafoi.

I will put my hand up here and say I have a conflict of interest as I know Kris well. 

We've worked in newsrooms together, had a few beers together, watched live music together and basically know each other pretty well, well enough to attend his dad's funeral a number of years ago. 

How proud his dad would have been, and his mum, of course. 

His parents came from Tokelau. His dad came to study at secondary school and later became a primary teacher and his mum worked in a factory. 

They lived in a state house. Now Faafoi is the minister in charge of them.

He's an entirely competent bloke, not overly ideological. What I like about him is he can laugh at himself, and his party, and he supports what works. 

He likes to get a result and he won't defend the indefensible.

I like that.

And he deserves this promotion. Initially, there was concern about Faafoi becoming an MP.

He'd gone from TVNZ to Phil Goff's office as a press secretary, to being shoulder-tapped by the party to stand in Mana, that's Porirua.

Professional politicians of the elite class were being created, not the local bloke from the community who ran the supermarket, but Faafoi has more than proved the critics wrong.

He's a damn good guy, a hugely competent minister - but he's been given a basket case to sort out now. 

Labour's housing policies have hindered, not helped, build houses.

This will be a test of all his abilities. He's a calm, non-stressed, result-driven guy but he's also a dad and I know this won't make the home life easier. 

Always remember what the most important thing is, Kris.

Work matters, but your kids are the most important.

Good luck. And, if he goes well, could Faafoi go on to higher honours? I see no reason why he couldn't.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.