“Kris Faafoi has shown how out of his depth he is as Immigration Minister in an interview on Q+A this morning,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“Faafoi previously insisted 80 per cent of visa applications had to be processed within 12 months. Now he’s extended that to 18 months, insisting - he’ll “get grumpy” if that’s not met.

“Instead of extending the deadline and allowing his department to be mediocre - he should insist the 12 month deadline is met.

“It might make him “grumpy” but it’s heartbreaking for families who are separated and means businesses who are desperate for workers are missing out. Eventually skilled people will give up and go elsewhere.

“Under Faafoi’s watch all visa processing times have blown out by months. How is that even possible when the borders have been closed?

“Faafoi claims that people from non-visa waiver countries are being kept out “for safety” but can’t explain why it’s unsafe to let them in. We’re allowing in tourists from the UK but not the families of Chinese and Indian migrant workers who have been separated for years.

“There are 667,000 New Zealanders who were born in non-visa waiver countries – 14 per cent of our population.

“Immigration New Zealand might claim it can’t keep up with a full re-opening of the border and need time to prepare, but the reality is that it has had two years off to improve systems, clear backlogs, process relevant visas and have managed to do none of that.

“This Government claims to be one of kindness but the way it’s treating migrants is cruel. It’s time for the Government to do what’s right.

“Faafoi getting grumpy isn’t enough to fix our broken immigration system. He needs to start showing some leadership, pull his department into line, show some compassion and get his priorities straight.”

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