5 November 2019
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has once again shown how inept he is in his portfolio, National’s Immigration
spokesperson Stuart Smith says.
“As our economy continues to decline and businesses are unable to get the workers they need due to significant visa
delays, the Minister of Immigration doesn’t even know how long these visas are taking to process.
“I asked Mr Lees-Galloway how long it was taking to process visa applications through Parliamentary Written Questions. I
released the information he gave me via a press release on Saturday. His office got in touch more than 48 hours later to
say that the information he gave me was incorrect.
“What is truly unbelievable is that when I received the information, I contacted the Minister’s office to make sure it
was correct – but he never bothered checking whether it was right and he never responded to me.
“Details matter and the Minister just isn’t across them. He constantly brushes off visa waiting times as an operational
issue for Immigration New Zealand. These issues are serious. Businesses are struggling to get the workers they need,
tertiary institutes are missing out on valuable international student revenue and tourists are going elsewhere.
“The data provided by Immigration NZ on their website still confirms that 13/14 of the main visa categories are still
being processed slower than under National. This is despite millions being pumped into Immigration NZ to hire staff to
process these visas.
“Iain Lees-Galloway just isn’t performing and New Zealanders deserve better from a Minister. First there was the
decision to grant residence to Karel Sroubek, a convicted drug dealer, in only 45 minutes, without reading the entire
file. Then he gave residency to a recidivist drink driver and now he isn’t taking visa delays seriously despite the
impact these are having on the economy.
“The Minister needs to start demonstrating that he takes his role seriously, he needs to pay attention to detail and do
his job properly.”