Duncan Garner: Kris Faafoi doesn't deserve to be sacked, his country needs him

OPINION: Labour's Kris Faafoi has been the Government's best performing minister by a country mile.

He's decisive, a good communicator, doesn't promise the world and has a sense of humour.

But right now, the chuckle has turned to a light choke. He's in a spot of bother - here's why:

His mate, Opshop musician Jason Kerrison, texted him asking if he could help speed things up on his step-father's immigration case.

The best reply would be to ignore him.

But Faafoi is popular, has mates, had a life before Parliament and clearly didn't want to let this guy down.

He replied that he would talk to the people that can speed things up.

On the surface, Faafoi appears to be offering to fast track the case, put pressure on his officials - all of which is a no-no in this game.

If I was to make an early judgement on the facts, Faafoi appears to have breached the Cabinet Manual.

But here's what turns this from a sacking into a slap on the wrist:

If you look at his communication in its entirety, Faafoi grabs victory by saying it could be seen as a conflict of interest and he passes the file on to Kerrison's local MP.

It's at that point that Faafoi saves his political career.

But here's the bit that really saves Faafoi: the step-father hasn't had the green light from Immigration NZ.

Kerrison puts plenty of pressure on his mate to deliver, but the friendship amounted to zip because the Kenyan National and wannabe Kiwi was declined.

So much for having friends in high places.

Faafoi achieved nothing for Kerrison, and while we are on this story, is it any different to Richie Hardcore texting his friend Jacinda Ardern looking for help on the Karel Sroubek case.

Well, actually, just a little.

In her case, the PM never returned texts.

But these politicians get messages like this all the time.

Heck, I've even texted Faafoi about immigration cases that have been featured on this show -  no Tova, you can't look at my text messages.

But spoiler alert, I've actually also asked him to his face on national television and radio.

So, Faafoi? He'll have to accept some public humiliation for 24 hours but Ardern doesn't need to sack him nor does Faafoi need to be whacked with a sledgehammer.

I hope he stays in Cabinet - his party needs him and so does this country.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.