A petition with 7300 signatures is on its way to Parliament

By   Pip   -  April 2 / 2022

A petition with more than 7300 signatures supporting Cafe Tennyson owners Julien and Sophie Debord’s right to stay in New Zealand has been passed to Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere, Green MP, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.

Dr. Kerekere will present the petition to the House of Representatives next week. Supporting letters written to Immigration Minister Rt Hon. Kris Faafoi and Associate Minister Rt Hon. Phil Twyford by Mayor Kirsten Wise, Napier City Councillor Sally Crown, Hon Louise Upston National MP Taupo, Napier City Business Inc General Manager Pip Thompson were also included. 

 

Cafe Tennyson owners Julien and Sophie Debord, along with their two young children, arrived in NZ late in 2018 and were granted an entrepreneur visa which is now pending cancellation by Immigration New Zealand due to the Debord’s not meeting their business plan and targets which were set before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Debords’ ownership, the cafe quickly became a Napier City icon, An institution bustling daily with local business people, families, and visitors. Their clean, fresh french flair added to the vibrant cafe culture Napier is so well known for now and before the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the hardest of COVID-19 times, some cafes decided to close. However, the Debord’s were committed to riding the COVID storm for their loyal locals and stayed open, facing a significant decline in revenue and substantial staff shortages.

We are asking Immigration Minister, Kris Faafoi, and Associate Minister Phil Twyford to use any tools at their disposal to allow for the Debord family’s residents visa to be granted or extended, and to update the criteria for the granting of the Entrepreneur Resident Visa, taking into account the unprecedented difficulties of operating a business under Covid conditions.

Julien & Sophie are kind, friendly, and hard-working people, and we only ask that they are given a fair go says Cafe Tennyson supporter and petition creator Kathryn McGarvey.  Once the rules relax and domestic travel becomes more comfortable, international borders open and we welcome cruise ships passengers to our iconic Art Deco city, we absolutely need cafes like the Debords to be open and trading Napier City Business Inc General Manager Pip Thompson says.

Despite what their visas might say, they are great New Zealanders, and we want them to stay.

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