Minister to probe internal affairs after DJ’s passport drama

By 1news.co.nz

The Minister of Internal Affairs is making inquiries after her department came to the rescue of a DJ with an expired passport.

Messie (Source: Supplied)

Tessa Hills, aka Messie, was given a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform with UK star Fred Again in Australia.

After impressing Fred Again with her work, she joined him for part of his New Zealand tour, and this weekend is heading across the Tasman to play with him again.

But, there was a last-minute hitch, with Hills’ passport no longer valid.

So Fred Again put out a call on social media and Hills put in an urgent passport application.

Fred Again's Instagram story
Fred Again’s Instagram story (Source: Fred Again)

Among those who noticed the post was the son of Ministry of Internal Affairs deputy chief executive Maria Robertson.

He then told his mother about the passport problem. Robertson forwarded an email from Hills to a colleague but says she was not involved in the actual application and the normal process was followed.

Robertson said the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) gets about 40,000 applications a week. “About 10% of those are urgent and it’s a service that we take great pride in and we’re delighted that it’s worked out in this case.”

Brooke van Velden.
Brooke van Velden. (Source: Breakfast)

Robertson also messaged Fred Again. “I just closed the loop with Fred Again, because he’d put that on social media, on the off chance sent him a message and said it’s sorted.”

Following last night’s show in Auckland, Fred Again had posted a message Robertson sent to him on his Instagram story, expressing his delight.

Fred Again's Instagram story
Fred Again’s Instagram story (Source: Fred Again)

“I’m the deputy chief executive of Internal Affairs. My son got in touch with Tessa after seeing your post, Tessa got in touch with us, she’s made her application and we are sorting it with her,” Robertson wrote to Fred Again.

“We love your music and we are thrilled you are backing one of our own to support your gig.”

Hills posted on social media that she had her passport approved yesterday and was flying to Wellington today to get it.

However, Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden said she was making inquiries into the “chain of events” leading to Hills’ passport approval.

“I do not believe that it’s appropriate for any official within a passport office to be letting other members of the public know about passport applications, no matter how famous a person may be,” she told reporters.

Department of Internal Affairs chief executive Paul James said van Velden had made her expectations clear.

“The department agrees with the minister’s statements, and we are working to meet her expectations.”

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