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Minister Must Explain "Lie In Unison" Memo

Peters Calls For Immigration Minister To Explain "Lie In Unison" Memo

New Zealand First has called on the Immigration Minister to explain the existence of an Immigration Service memo in which one of her officials revealed there was an agreement to “lie in unison” over the detention of a suspected Algerian terrorist in December.

Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said that there should be a full investigation into a New Zealand Herald story today about an alleged conspiracy to cover up the arrival of Ahmed Zaoui, who tore up his passport and sought asylum here.

“This situation emerged during a Christmas party in the Immigration Minister’s office where an official appears to have misled a Herald journalist making an inquiry about the suspected terrorist.

“An internal Immigration Service memo written by the official and obtained by the Herald alleges that ‘everyone had agreed to lie in unison’ and perhaps the Minister could explain why such tactics had originated from a party in her office, and who else was involved.”

Mr Peters described the situation as “extremely serious”.

“This suspected terrorist is obviously a security risk and should have been immediately deported. Instead there appears to have been a conspiracy to cover up his detention and to mislead the public.

“There should be an immediate inquiry into this sordid affair and the minister should stand down while it takes place.

“It is very interesting that the minister and her officials used exactly the same word, ‘flippant’, to describe the memo. This simply cannot be a coincidence,” said Mr Peters.

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