New information has emerged that has prompted Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway to reconsider his decision to grant residency to Karel Sroubek, a Czech kick-boxing champ serving prison time for drug-smuggling.
It includes claims Sroubek had travelled back to the Czech Republic despite fleeing that country in fear of his life in 2003 on a false passport in the name of Jan Antolik.
Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper understands the information that sparked the change of heart centres on Sroubek's now ex-wife.
Initially, she supported Sroubek's case for residency and said she was happy for him to stay in the country once he was released from jail, where he is currently serving a sentence for importing drugs.
This is believed to be the information Lees-Galloway used to make his decision. However, the former wife is now in the process of taking out a restraining order against Sroubek.
The decision came as news to Lees-Galloway, and he is now reviewing his decision, Soper understands.
Lees-Galloway, who until yesterday stood by his decision to use his power of "absolute discretion" to cancel Sroubek's deportation liability and grant him residency under his real name, told Parliament: "Information may exist that directly contradicts information that I relied upon in making the decision relating to Karel Sroubek."
He said it was not additional information.
"This is contradictory information. This is a very serious matter. I have to check the veracity of this additional information."
Sroubek's former lawyer Simon Laurent said yesterday that if it was proved Sroubek had returned to the Czech Republic since he had been in New Zealand, it would be "quite problematic".
He told Newstalk ZB it was unusual that Lees-Galloway had received some "11th-hour information" as Sroubek's case had been with Immigration New Zealand for a number of years.
"I would have thought that would have been the sort of thing Immigration NZ would have canvassed quite carefully," he said.
"If he had been back to the Czech Republic, and that could be established beyond a doubt, then it would undermine the case for the Minister."
Immigration lawyer Marcus Beveridge this morning told Newstalk ZB's Kate Hawkesby that deporting Sroubek is not off the table.
National leader Simon Bridges yesterday branded Lees Galloway "incompetent and naive" and demanded his resignation.
"If he's been wrong here, if ultimately this man is to be deported, [Lees-Galloway] hasn't got the judgment and the skills required in terms of keeping New Zealanders safe with these decisions and he should resign," Bridges said.
Lees-Galloway has been under pressure since it emerged he granted residency to Sroubek despite the kick-boxer's use of a false passport, association with the Hells Angels, and his 2016 conviction for importing 5kg of MDMA for which he received a jail term of almost six years.
He has refused to say why he granted Sroubek residency.
But in 2011 Judge Roy Wade, who discharged Sroubek without conviction over his use of a false passport, believed Sroubek would be in danger from corrupt Czech authorities if he were deported.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that people needed to "read between the lines" and look at previous coverage of the case to see why Lees-Galloway reached his original decision.
Ardern told Parliament yesterday the decision was made on the information available at the time.
"If there is information that contradicts that, I imagine the Minister would want to seek further advice on that," she said.