Northland MP Matt King is leading the chorus of protest over Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway's decision to grant residence to a convicted drug smuggler.

Mr King said the decision was "utterly inexplicable," not only because of Karel Sroubek's character and criminal history, but because of the minister's refusal to even consider genuinely deserving cases.

Juliet Garcia, a highly-qualified health care assistant at Kaitaia rest home Switzer Residential Care, was just one example he had tried to take up with the minister, to no avail.

"Juliet Garcia has to leave New Zealand when her work visa expires next year, and this convicted drug smuggler gets residence. I don't understand," he said.


Mr King added that his electorate office was dealing with immigration issues on a daily basis. Many were similar to Mrs Garcia, including chefs and a farm manager, all of whom had jobs and were vital to their employers' businesses.

Associate Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi had refused to intervene in four of the five most recent cases.

"Now we have this Czech, who entered New Zealand using a friend's passport, who is a gang associate and is currently in prison for importing $375,000 worth of drugs," he said.
"Making him a citizen means he can never be deported."

Sroubek arrived in New Zealand in 2003, claiming that he was fleeing from corrupt police after witnessing a murder. Under the name Jan Antolik, he built a new life as a businessman, a representative-level kickboxer and a Hell's Angels associate.

He subsequently admitted criminal ties in the Czech Republic, but has been acquitted, or had convictions overturned, on several charges relating to drugs and robbery in New Zealand. He is now serving a prison term of five years and nine months for using his drink importation business as a front to smuggle 5kg of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, into the country.

He was refused parole last month, Parole Board panel convenor Judge Phil Gittos describing him as evasive, long-winded and "in many respects manifestly untruthful."

Sroubek was to have been deported after completing his sentence, but last week Mr Lees-Galloway confirmed he had granted him residence, subject to "significant conditions," which he declined to reveal.

National's immigration spokesman Michael Woodhouse the information he had did not come close to any threshold where special consideration should have been given by the minister.