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The Prime Minister must explain her ties to convicted criminal Karel Sroubek and her role in allowing him to stay, as newly released text messages suggest a closer role than she’s let on, National’s Immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“The Government has started the year as it finished – cynically dumping information of real public interest late on a Friday afternoon, in this case just as the Prime Minister is about to head overseas.

“But the Prime Minister can’t hide from the serious questions the messages raise.

“Why was Sroubek’s main supporter texting her directly to pass on his ‘respect and praise’ over the decision to allow Sroubek to stay in New Zealand in spite of Sroubek’s criminal history and the fact he came here on a false passport?

“Why was one of Sroubek’s fellow inmates – Alex Swney - texting and emailing the Prime Minister information on the case, which has only now been revealed in spite of months of questioning? And what was that information and what is her relationship with Mr Swney?

“The whole thing stinks. Karel Sroubek should never have been granted residency, the Government should never have tried to keep it secret, and the Prime Minister should not be involved in any way in such a decision, especially ones which allowed a convicted criminal to remain in New Zealand.

“This Government is cynical and it continues to refuse to front up. It owes New Zealanders an explanation – even if the Prime Minister has to explain it from Europe.”

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