It's difficult to know what lines the Prime Minister had been reading between when she justified her Immigration Minister's decision to give drug smuggler Karel Sroubek residency in this country.

But the lines Minister Iain Lees-Galloway was actually reading when he made the decision should have set off flashing red lights and anything between them was about as vacant as this Government's been in its backing of it.

The 14-page document Lees-Galloway had before him when he pondered the prisoner's fate told him in the third paragraph that it appeared Sroubek had travelled in an out of New Zealand using more than one travel document.


As he read further he would have discovered he'd come and gone from the country no fewer than nine times.

For the immigration denier Winston Peters to say, as some sort of justification of the bumbling Minister, that he could have simply gone to Australia is stretching credulity considering the document before him told him of his business interests in Europe, and indeed the Czech Republic.

But to allow the convicted drug importer who came here on a false passport to stay in the country when he gets out of jail beggars belief, particularly when he read about what he'd got up to in his home country before coming here.

Attacking and grievously injuring two cops in one incident and attacking a taxi driver in another and other rampaging behaviour which saw him being sentenced to more than four years in the slammer - surely should have made him an undesirable resident in this country.

But no, the vacuous verbiage from the Minister continued.

He seemed to be saying let bygones be bygones, he'd learnt the error of his ways despite the fact that he's now in jail serving a significant drug sentence.

Of course the charade could no longer be sustained, Lees-Galloway has finally done what he should have done from the outset.

Sroubek won't be allowed to stay here after his sentence, the original decision's been overturned.


Inadequate information from Immigration officials and a soft judge's view that he'd be in danger if he returned to his home country, that the Minister says he relied on, is seen for what it is - devoid of anything to back it up.

The only danger he'll be in on his return to his home country is serving the sentence imposed on him there.

But then that might be some time away considering Sroubek's lawyers are appealing.

Lees-Galloway has said he's sorry to Jacinda Ardern and she seems happy with that and he's promised to do things better in the future.

In the final line of his backdown statement he said as Minister he took responsibility for the damage he's caused to public trust and confidence - perhaps he should read between that line and accept what taking responsibility actually means.