Iain Lees-Galloway has admitted he didn't read Karel Sroubek's entire immigration file before granting him residency.
National grilled the Immigration Minister on his decision to cancel the Czech drug lord's deportation liability in Parliament on Thursday.
Mr Lees-Galloway says he's confident in the decision he made on October 19 given the information that was available to him, contained within a "comprehensive" file compiled by Immigration New Zealand.
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It took him less than an hour to come to the conclusion to give Sroubek residency for reasons that have not been disclosed, which he says was "much, much longer" than he's given to other immigration decisions.
"I read various aspects of the full file," he told Parliament during questioning.
"I didn't rely solely on the summary. This is the usual process for these decisions. I took my time.
"I took much, much longer on this decision than I have on other decisions, and I'm following exactly the process that I inherited from the previous minister."
He claims he asked a lot of questions to ascertain enough information to make the call.
"I gave it the due consideration that I was able to with the information I had available to me at the time."
The Minister says he has looked over the entire file since the October 19 decision.
He's called the Sroubek situation one fo the most difficult choices of his political career.
Sroubek fled to New Zealand from the Czech Republic on a false passport in 2003, fleeing what he claimed were corrupt law enforcement officials, after allegedly witnessing a murder.
He soon became affiliated with Hells Angels in New Zealand, and was imprisoned for importing drugs, among other charges. He was jailed in June 2016 for five years and nine months after a jury found him guilty of bringing Class-B MDMA powder into the country.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has backed her minister's decision, defending him on The AM Show on October 30. Without revealing specific details, she hinted he was granted residency because of a threat to his life back in the Czech Republic.
"Why else would a minister make a decision around a case like this?" she said.