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Woodhouse curbs Immigration NZ's powers

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/04/2017

Michael Woodhouse © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Michael Woodhouse Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has suspended his department's ability to make decisions on his behalf after it was revealed a migrant was allowed to stay in the country despite two sex offence convictions.

Mr Woodhouse announced the suspension following a New Zealand Herald article about Sultan Abdul Ali Akbari, who arrived in the country from Afghanistan in 2012 on a resident's visa.

He was convicted of indecently assaulting a woman in 2013 and then jailed for two years in 2015 for indecently assaulting two young girls and an 18-year-old.

Despite concerns about his reoffending, an Immigration NZ official granted the 58-year-old a "deportation liability suspension", which meant he could not be deported back to Afghanistan for five years, the paper reported on Monday.

Late on Monday afternoon, Mr Woodhouse responded to the article by suspending Immigration NZ's decision-making authority involving criminal offences.

"I have made my expectations very clear when it comes to deportation decisions involving offending of this nature and those expectations are not being met.

"I am temporarily suspending Immigration NZ's decision making authority until I have confidence that the decisions being made are consistent with my expectations."

Mr Woodhouse said he expected the suspension to last about a fortnight, provided he could be assured the new decision-making process aligned with his expectations.

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