In his capacity as Associate Immigration Minister Phil Twyford has granted residency to three convicted criminals.
They have ten convictions between them: One conviction for producing a false passport, one for unlawfully being in an enclosed yard or area, six for drink driving, one for dangerous driving and one for driving while disqualified.
To be fair we don’t know the full details. These could be really old convictions, all three people might have found God since, changed their lives and become wonderful, contributing members of society.
But either way, the problem is priorities.
The government’s rule is actually that it’s NOT giving residency to people. It stopped taking applications in April last year. Which means a whole bunch of skilled migrants that we badly need to keep are leaving. They’ve had a guts full of waiting for Labour to give them permission to stay here.
And among them are foreign doctors and nurses who are moving home: The very people we are going to need when Covid eventually spreads through the community.
We know of a number of doctors who’ve gone home to the UK, but one in particular is important here: Harding Richards, the Welsh doctor, who was in the Otaki.
He tried and tried and the Government wouldn’t give him residency which meant he couldn’t buy a house, he couldn’t set up Kiwisaver, and he had no idea whether he would ever be allowed to stay in New Zealand make this his home. So he went back to Wales three months ago, leaving behind 1300 patients.
Get this: his boss wrote to a Government Minister about this, asking for help in getting Dr Richards residency so he could stay. That Minister wrote back and said no.
That minister was Phil Twyford.
So Phil: not prepared to use his power to give a doctor residency but more than prepared to his power to give three criminals residency.
How’s that for priorities?
Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.
Breaking Views brings you expert commentary on topical political and policy issues. The views expressed are those of the author alone. The blog is administered by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, an independent public policy think tank at NZCPR.com - register for the free weekly NZCPR newsletterHERE.