5 Oct 2022

Faafoi rejects criticism over new lobbying boss role

4:15 pm on 5 October 2022
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Former MP for Mana and government minister Kris Faafoi. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Less than three months after leaving Parliament, former government minister Kris Faafoi is heading up a new PR and lobbying firm.

The journalist-turned MP for Mana told RNZ he was into his third week as chief executive of the company, called Dialogue22.

He shrugged off any criticism over the speed of the move.

"I don't particularly get fussed about that, you know, people are entitled to their opinions but as I said you leave politics and you have to find yourself a career," he said.

He suggested it was not such a stretch to make the move from politics to PR.

"The thing that I loved about politics was engaging with other people and organisations and this lets me do that but with the newfound freedom of not having to put up with the hours or the relentlessness of the Beehive.

"It's a pretty small office here in Wellington. It took me about three days to get a computer when I first started in at Parliament and I had one on day one here, so things were looking up."

"I've spent 20 years in and around Parliament as a journalist [and MP] so I don't think it's too out of the box thinking as to what I might have wanted to have got into."

He said the company was not targeting any particular kind of client.

"I've been in discussions with some people who've been keeping in touch with me and wanted to kind of use some of the knowledge and skills in the process that I've built up over those years."

Dialogue22's website advertises expertise in government and public relations services "to those who need their perspective heard and understood".

Faafoi said he would always miss the rhythm of working at Parliament, but he was excited about the challenge of running the company, which he confirmed was backed by ad agency boss Greg Partington.

"It's exciting for me. It's new for me but it's also exciting because I'm part of a bigger group that's got a lot of other parts to it to kind of advertising on social media so it's an exciting time for me.

"I had 10 weeks off and at about week three or four someone put me in touch with Greg Partington ... I knew I was going to take a couple of months out - I didn't quite know what I was looking at doing - but this is it. Something came along while I was enjoying a break."

Faafoi spent 10 years as MP for Mana, and held the justice, broadcasting and immigration portfolios, among others, before leaving Parliament in July.