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Government confirms it got Sroubek decision badly wrong

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has confirmed he is unfit for office by finally coming to the same conclusion on convicted drug smuggler Karel Sroubek that every other New Zealander reached weeks ago, National Leader Simon Bridges says.

“After taking 45 minutes to make the decision, then a month to review it, the Minister has finally realised he made the wrong decision by granting a dangerous criminal residency in New Zealand.

“He now says Mr Sroubek is liable for deportation – though if Mr Sroubek appeals then this could clog up our courts for months and cost taxpayers significantly.

“To justify his original decision, Mr Lees-Galloway is throwing his officials under the bus, even though he didn’t bother to read all of the information they gave him.

“Clearly he should have. This was a convicted drug smuggler, currently imprisoned, who came to New Zealand on a false passport and associates with gangs.

“Mr Lees-Galloway claims the fact Mr Sroubek went back to the Czech Republic was difficult information to find and yet the Opposition and the media found it easily with a Google search.

“Mr Lees-Galloway realised early on that he had this badly wrong but tried to be secretive and sweep it under the carpet by claiming the public didn’t deserve to know the reasons behind his decision.

“He has put at risk the safety of New Zealanders because he didn’t do his job properly and read the file – all of which he should now put in the public domain so the public can judge for themselves.

“The Minister claims he was using processes put in place by the previous Government but none of our Ministers ever read a file involving a serious criminal in just 45 minutes without asking the relevant questions and allowed them to stay.

“Mr Lees-Galloway has lost all credibility, undermined our immigration system and made New Zealanders less safe. He should resign.”

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