Big news of late is that after much worrying (some would say fretting) on my part, I am now the proud owner of an official New Zealand work permit and multiple entry visa current until September 30th 2007. Karla would not have been happy if they'd thrown my butt out of the country, lemme tell ya.
My current permit/visa was going to expire at the end of the month. So it was bit of a pinch, but I managed to get my old passport renewed, all my info together (believe me, it's a lot) and in. Within a couple of days, I was approved thanks to a terrific immigration officer named Andrew Webber.
I gotta say that as a government service delivery nerd, Immigration New Zealand rated pretty poorly until I met Andrew. I couldn't get any definitive answers to my questions, people made me feel mightily vulnerable, and I just felt I was in the dark a lot of the time.
It wasn't until I got the State Services Commission (the government agency I'm contracting for) to start making inquiries for me did I really get some traction.
Even so, Andrew's boss (and his minister) will be getting a letter from me saying how great he was: he was empathentic, authoritative, confident and efficient. And frankly, he made a big difference in my life and for my peace of mind.
Public services make such a difference to people. Andrew sets the bar for how good they really can be.