Kris Faafoi

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Kris Faafoi

Kris Faafoi 2.jpg
25th Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media
Assumed office
7 September 2018
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byClare Curran
13th Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byJacqui Dean
Minister for Government Digital Services
Assumed office
27 June 2019
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byMegan Woods
25th Minister of Civil Defence
In office
26 October 2017 – 27 June 2019
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byNathan Guy
Succeeded byPeeni Henare
64th Minister of Customs
In office
20 September 2018 – 27 June 2019
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byMeka Whaitiri
Succeeded byJenny Salesa
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mana
Assumed office
Preceded byLuamanuvao Winnie Laban
Majority10,980 in 2017
Personal details
Born (1976-06-23) 23 June 1976 (age 43)
Nationality New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Gina Faafoi-Rogers (former)
Domestic partnerMae Puller

Kristopher John "Kris" Faafoi (born 23 June 1976), a New Zealand politician, holds membership of the New Zealand Labour Party. He became the representative of the Mana electorate in the New Zealand Parliament in 2010.


Early life[edit]

Faafoi's parents originate from the Tokelau atoll of Fakaofo. He grew up in Christchurch.[1]

His father, sent to New Zealand to study at secondary school, later became a primary-school teacher. His mother came to New Zealand as part of a repatriation scheme, and later worked in a factory.[1]

Faafoi has stated that he didn't have a typical Tokelau upbringing and does not fluently speak Tokelauan.[1]

Professional career[edit]

Faafoi trained as a journalist. He worked for the BBC and as a political commentator.[1][2][3]

Prior to the Mana by-election, he was the chief press secretary for Labour leader Phil Goff, and the Rongotai Pacific branch chair of the Labour Party.[4]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2010–2011 49th Mana Labour
2011–2014 50th Mana 41 Labour
2014–2017 51st Mana none Labour
2017–present 52nd Mana 20 Labour

Fifth National Government (2010–2017)[edit]

After the resignation of Mana MP Luamanuvao Winnie Laban on 10 August 2010,[5] Faafoi was chosen to represent the Labour Party in the resulting by-election, which was set for 20 November.[6][7] Four people contesting the selection, with Faafoi defeating business manager Michael Evans, barrister Peter Foster and communications adviser Josie Pagani.[3] During the campaign, he was criticised for a campaign brochure stating, "I had a great start because my family settled in Mana," implying that he grew up in the electorate despite being raised in Christchurch.[8]

Faafoi won the by-election with 10,980 votes (46.4%), becoming the first MP of Tokelauan descent.[8] Hekia Parata from the National Party was placed second and received 9,574 (41.6%), giving Faafoi a margin of 1,080 votes (4.82%).[9] This was a significant decrease of Laban's majority of 6,155 (17.7%) at the 2008 general election.[10] Faafoi more than doubled the margin in the 2011,[11] and had a 7,953 votes margin in the 2014.[12]

Sixth Labour Government (2017–present)[edit]

Kris Faafoi was elected as a Minister of Civil Defence, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister of Immigration, outside Cabinet by the Labour Party caucus following Labour's formation of a coalition government with New Zealand First and the Greens.[13][14]

On 30 August 2017, Faafoi announced that the Government was investing NZ$5.2 million into supporting "rapid response teams" to support communities in emergencies. The boost in funding was the result of a critical Ministerial Technical Advisory Group's (TAG) review of the Government's unsatisfactory responses to the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and the 2017 Port Hills fires.[15][16]

When Minister of Customs Meka Whaitiri “stood aside” in August 2018 over a "staffing matter" pending an investigation that same day, Faafoi assumed the Customs portfolio.[17][18]

On 7 September 2018 Faafoi was appointed Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media upon the resignation of Clare Curran.[19] In 2018 his main political priority was "dealing with loan sharks".[1]

On 27 June 2019, Faafoi was appointed Minister of Government Digital Services, complementing his role as Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. He also assumed the position of Associate Minister for Public Housing. Faafoi relinquished his position as Minister of Civil Defence and Minister of Customs, which were assumed by Peeni Henare and Jenny Salesa respectively.[20][21]

In 6 December 2019, Faafoi apologised to Prime Minister Jacinda for promising to speed up an immigration visa application for Opshop singer Jason Kerrison's father. Opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges claimed that Faafoi's actions could constitute a conflict of interest that breached Cabinet rules.[22][23][24]

On 8 February 2020 he announced his intention to not seek re-election in Mana for the 2020 election; he will stand as a List MP instead.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Kris lives in Porirua with his partner Mae and three sons.[2] Faafoi was married to Gina Faafoi-Rogers. Their son George was born 2008.[8][26]

His elder brother Jason is a TV presenter and musician.[27][28] They made a documentary together about their family visiting Tokelau, which was released in 2004.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Husband, Dale (7 October 2018). "Kris Faafoi — a minister on the rise". E-Tangata. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Hon Kris Faafoi". Labour Party. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b New Zealand Press Association (18 September 2010). "Labour picks former journalist for Mana seat". Television New Zealand. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Candidate is Kris Faafoi". Newstalk ZB. 18 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  5. ^ Watkins, Tracy (10 August 2010). "By-election as Labour's Winnie Laban leaves Parliament". Archived from the original on 10 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  6. ^ Phil Goff (10 August 2010). "Luamanuvao Winnie Laban to stand down" (Press release). New Zealand Labour Party. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  7. ^ Andrea Vance (4 October 2010). "Mana byelection set for Nov 20". Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "Labour's Kris Faafoi wins Mana by-election". New Zealand Herald. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  9. ^ "By-Election Results -- Mana". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Official Count Results – Mana". Elections New Zealand. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Official Count Results -- Mana". Electoral Commission. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Official Count Results -- Mana". Electoral Commission. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Who's in? Who's out?". Radio NZ. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  15. ^ Long, Jessica (30 August 2018). "Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi announces $5.2 million for rapid response teams for disasters". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Government to invest $5.2 million in new 'fly-in teams' for civil defence emergencies". 1 News. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri stands down from all ministerial portfolios over alleged assault on staff member". 1 News. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  18. ^ Hurley, Emma; Lynch, Jenna (30 August 2018). "PM Jacinda Ardern accepts Govt Minister Meka Whaitiri's offer to stand aside". Newshub. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  19. ^ Cooke, Henry (7 September 2018). "Clare Curran resigns as minister, citing 'intolerable' pressure". Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Winners and losers - PM reveals first substantive Cabinet reshuffle". Radio New Zealand. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  21. ^ Small, Zane (27 June 2019). "Jacinda Ardern's Cabinet reshuffle: Phil Twyford's Housing portfolio split into three". Newshub. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  22. ^ Whyte, Anna (6 December 2019). "Kris Faafoi apologises to Jacinda Ardern over 'messy' visa interactions with Opshop singer". 1 News. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Ardern must 'deal with' reports Kris Faafoi offered to help friend in immigration case - Bridges". Radio New Zealand. 1 News. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  24. ^ Manch, Thomas (6 December 2019). "Minister Kris Faafoi apologises for promising to 'speed things up' for Opshop singer". Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi says he will run as a list candidate at this year's election". 8 February 2020.
  26. ^ Small, Vernon (22 November 2010). "Mana's man Faafoi straight into 2011 campaign". Stuff. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  27. ^ NZ aOn Screen - Long Lost Sons (2004)
  28. ^ Jason Fa'afoi on IMDb
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
Member of Parliament for Mana
Political offices
Preceded by
Nathan Guy
Minister of Civil Defence
Succeeded by
Peeni Henare
Preceded by
Jacqui Dean
Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Preceded by
Clare Curran
Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media
Preceded by
Meka Whaitiri
Minister of Customs
Succeeded by
Jenny Salesa
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chris Hipkins
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Ruth Dyson