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The Prime Minister has finally admitted what the whole country already knew: that the Minister of Immigration made a bad mistake in granting drug-dealing criminal Karel Sroubek New Zealand residency, National’s Immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“In answers to questions in Parliament today, Winston Peters, answering on behalf of the Prime Minister, said Iain Lees-Galloway was ‘setting out, having made only one mistake in a year, to fix it up’. When asked if he agreed with the Prime Minister’s answer that he made a mistake, Mr Lees-Galloway ducked the question.

“In spite of claiming Mr Lees-Galloway was a ‘victim’, the Prime Minister has at last admitted what every New Zealander has known for a month – that the Immigration Minister got it badly wrong and he should go.

“What’s also troubling are revelations that the Minister gave weight to Mr Sroubek’s claims that the Czech Republic would ‘kill him and make it look like an accident’. The Government giving credibility to this statement is ridiculous. The Czech Republic is a member of NATO and the European Union, and is considered an advanced economy with high living standards. Believing this is further evidence of the Minister’s ineptitude.

“The Minister knew from the very beginning that Mr Sroubek had left New Zealand multiple times, was wanted for grievous bodily harm against police officers as well as in relation to a murder, had committed passport fraud and was in prison for drug smuggling. It is beyond credible for him to now say it is new information that has caused him to change his mind. The convictions detailed in the initial briefing were more than enough to deport him.

“Mr Lees-Galloway has jeopardised the safety of the New Zealand public, opened up the likelihood of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and years of court battles, and he must go.”

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