MP Profiles

Every three years the company publishes the Saunders Unsworth guide to MPs. The guide is sold to clients only. It is edited by Mark Unsworth. The profile for Labour Cabinet Minister Hon Kris Faafoi is below: (Update in 2020 and approved by the Minister).

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Hon Kris Faafoi


Full Name Kristopher John Faafoi

MP Since 2010


Minister of Justice

Minister for Broadcasting and Media

Minister of Immigration

Electorate List MP

Born 23rd of June 1976, Christchurch

Family Partner Mae with 3 children

Early Life  Faafoi's parents Amosa and Metita left Tokelau as teenagers and ended up setting up house in Christchurch, one of only 3 Tokelauan families in that city.  His father worked as a teacher and his mother a factory worker.  He attended Rowley Primary, Manning Intermediate and Hilmorton High.  He spent two years at Canterbury University but didn't like it so moved on to Broadcasting School.

Career His first journalism intership was at IRN in Auckland followed by a cadetship at TVNZ.  He also worked as a sports reporter and for the Holmes Show in Wgtn and then to Australia as TVNZ's Sydney reporter. He covered the 2005 Election as a reporter in the Parliamentary Press Gallery then took 2 years off to travel to Europe for his O.E where he did some occasional freelance work at the BBC, Reuters and A.P.

Back home in New Zealand he returned to the Press Gallery in 2007 and then joined the office of Phil Goff, Leader of the Opposition as Press Secretary.  In May 2010 he became Chief Press Secretary.

Political Life Faafoi came from a family with a strong history of community involvement.  His father had also been a supporter and volunteer for Jim Anderton.  Kris himself had never been politically driven but having spent time as a Press Secretary, he felt he was more like the guy carrying the water bottles, rather than being the player.

In a by-election in 2010 he won the Mana seat.  In 2015 he was appointed Assistant Whip and then Senior Whip in February 2017.  In Govt he became Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Civil Defence, originally outside Cabinet, but in 2018 he added Customs as well.  In a reshuffle he was promoted to Cabinet and given Associate Housing and Government Digital Servicing.  He added Immigration in 2020.  After the election he was promoted to be Justice Minister.

Traits  Wonderful to deal with.  Quiet and thoughtful, polite, centre-right within the Labour caucus, keen on consensus politics.  Not an attack politician and very respectful of authority.  Sincere and friendly, great communicator.  Exemplary performer.  He decided to go List only in 2020 and moved to live in the Wairarapa.

Hobbies/ Interests Music, guitar, cricket, golf, rugby, wider family.

Outlook Faafoi has been the rising star of this Labour Govt being the safe pair of hands the PM turns to when someone else has dropped the ball.  Starting ouside Cabinet, he had 7 changes of portfolio in just 3 years.  Even more importantly for Labour, Faafoi has been the go-to person for the business community amongst a caucus, some of whom have only marginal empathy for them.  He listens, he meets with people and he cares and that's built him huge kudos across the country.  It also put him under pressure as everyone wanted his ear.  His decision to give up his seat and move to Greytown shocked a few people but he deserves a quieter life.  Everyone is hoping this doesn't signal an early exit from politics.


Residence Greytown