COMMENT

Kris Faafoi did what you would expect a Labour Minister to do, and the Prime Minister did what you would expect a Prime Minister of her experience and standards to do, nothing.

And that is this Government for you. If standards are important, if decency, honesty, openness, or transparency are important to you, this is not the government for you.

This is a sloppy, unprofessional tainted lacklustre government. And it's headed by a person, when it comes to matters of expectation and governance, who is a mile out of her depth.

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To recap, last week it was revealed that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi may have breached Cabinet rules by offering to help "speed up" a friend's immigration case.

Messages between Faafoi and close friend Opshop frontman Jason Kerrison appeared to show the Minister offered to get involved in an immigration case and said he would talk to "people who can speed things up".

This was in relation to Immigration New Zealand's decision to reject his Kerrison's step-father's application for residency. His mother, Jude Kerrison, married Gitonga "Mich" Obadiah, a Kenyan national, in 2017.

Obadiah's residency was rejected, as Immigration New Zealand questioned the legitimacy of their relationship. Then came the conversation between Kerrison and Faafoi on Facebook.

READ MORE:
Kris Faafoi apologises over immigration allegations linked to friend Jason Kerrison
'Bro I have a plan': Kris Faafoi offered to help in friend's immigration case
Premium - Audrey Young: Kris Faafoi is in trouble but just how much?
Premium - Political Roundup: Should Kris Faafoi be sacked?

Faafoi has apologised for his Cabinet Manual breach. He's tried to explain what he was doing, he failed in his duty, and that he should have done things differently.

So in essence the accusation is accurate, it's just they're trying to wiggle their way out of the punishment. If there had been a mistake in reportage, if the facts were wrong, if he had a story that held up, or that represented something other than what we had heard Thursday night, he might have his reputation in tact.

As it turns out he doesn't, and I am sad about it. As I said last week, I know Faafoi from TV days, and like everyone else who knows him, I know he is liked. He is unquestionably talented, and he's been the sole shining light in that Labour Cabinet, having been justifiably promoted earlier this year.

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Maybe that's the bit that saved him? Maybe the Prime Minister looked around the room, saw the old stalwarts such as Grant Robertson and David Parker, solid professionals quietly keeping their noses clean and getting on with the job, and then looked at the rest of them, and breathed out a sigh of knowing despair. They're a bunch of amateurs, so Faafoi gets saved because he's good in a room full of numpties.

But it still doesn't address the Cabinet Manual which has indisputably been breached.

And here's the thing that's damaging: The Cabinet Manual is open to a level of interpretation. Not by us, read it, it's black and white. But when it's breached or broken, what's to be done is the bit that's open to the leader of the day to interpret.

Maybe if Jacinda Ardern had never promised to be the most open, honest, and transparent government ever, this wouldn't be as bad. Maybe if Meka Whaitiri, Clare Curran, Iain Lees-Galloway, Shane Jones, or Phil Twyford had never happened it wouldn't seem so bad.

Mike Hosking. Photo / supplied
Mike Hosking. Photo / supplied

But they did, and they have. They seem to have no shame, their standards aren't standards at all. They're a grouping of amateur excuse makers, who hope you don't care, or you'll forget.

It's such a shame because good government leads from the top, it sets the agenda, the outlook, the expectation, and the standards.

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The message we get from these indiscretions, broken promises, and breaches of rules, is anything goes. It's as loose as, and their greatest talent is gall.

• Mike Hosking is the weekday breakfast host on radio station Newstalk ZB.