“I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear to him.
“Kris was not the Associate Minister of Immigration at this time, and he had no ministerial responsibilities for immigration matters.
“Once Kris decided to direct Jason Kerrison’s request to another MP to progress, Kris should have brought the communications to an end and told Mr Kerrison directly he couldn’t help any further.
“While Kris’s communication didn’t have the clarity I expect, the Minister has assured me he never actually took any actions that sought to influence the case.
“Given that, this is not a case where the Minister has failed to manage a conflict of interest appropriately. But as the Minister has acknowledged, 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.
“I’ve told Minster Faafoi I expect better from him,” Jacinda Ardern said.