More revelations re Immigration Service

The Sunday Star-Times reveals more information about the Immigration Service, and with great sadness am starting to conclude that Mary-Anne Thompson’s position is becoming untenable. She appears to have shown a lack of judgement which is incompatible with the role she holds. What is strange is how out of step this lack of judgement is, with what has been a very successful career founded on sound judgement and ability. I can just presume people develop a blind spot when it comes to trying to help their own family.

In one article, the SST reveals:

It was December 2004, Christmas was fast approaching and, in an email to an immigration official, Thompson made it clear that the matter was urgent.

“We would like them to stay with us for three months for a significant family function, and then return to their families,” she wrote, adding “my husband and are flying to Nadi to meet them (a surprise for them).”

The -based official, whose name is blanked out in documents released under the Official Information Act, was only too eager to help, arranging visa waivers, usually reserved for emergencies. He even provided his and home numbers in case the family ran into any trouble on arrival in Fiji.

About four months later, Thompson was at it again, asking for assistance to get more family members to New Zealand. “My preference would be a visa waiver, given the certainty of [names deleted] returning back to Kiribati and given that they will live with me and our family,” she wrote.

am amazed that Thompson was personally e-mailing staff (something which I am sure is not available to members of the public) asking for visa waivers. It doesn’t matter at all that she was not explicitly asking them to break any rules. When you are effectively the Head of the Immigration Service, you can not be and should not be in any way involved with immigration issues concerning your family. The mere fact that a staff member is dealing with their ultimate boss can only be seen as pressure on them.

Thompson should have got another family member (such as her husband) to do the applications, and deal with Immigration Service staff members. It is just incredibly inappropriate to do what she did.

They also talk in some detail about the application which was approved outside the rules:

Flesher says she told the branch manager, Nancy Sandoy, that the application was outside the timeframe. Sandoy said the application should be processed, but said she would make a call, Flesher says. According to Flesher, about a week later Mai Malaulau, the Pacific division director based in Wellington, appeared in the office, brought the file to her desk and said: “Put it in the system, there are slots available in the grid.”

This is what happens when you are the head of the Immigration Service and you get involved in applying for your family. You may not have asked anyone to do favours for you, but who really wants to turn down the boss’ family?

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