Any hope the government might earn some credit over the SIS no longer branding Ahmed Zaoui a security risk is shattered by the reaction from some of the country's top columists.
An online Stuff poll as well as comments from readers on the NZ Herald website also show a clear majority opposed to letting Zaoui stay in New Zealand.
Fran O'Sullivan in the Weekend Herald typically goes in boots'n'all stating "A dirty little deal has been forged."
"When the chips were down, Ahmed Zaoui sang like a bird to buy his freedom in New Zealand."
Thus Zaoui has made deals with the SIS and the CIA about his future associations, suggesting they were extremely murky in the past, which is why he is a convicted terrorist in two European countries and even banned from entering Britain.
However, more worrying is the threat of left-wing violence had Zauoi had to be forcibly removed, something the Herald's John Armstrong also touched upon yesterday.
"Neither party would have wanted the full-scale riots that would have incurred if Zaoui - who has been accorded martyr status by some media - was forcibly deported from New Zealand."
Thus, after being lionised by the left, we now see how a mob of political agitators can simply dictate security policies, even if a clear majority of the New Zealand public would happily see him kicked out.
As well as noiting the "comfortable wicket" Zaoui has found in a "trusting" New Zealand, comes this significant obervation.
"What is extraordinary is Tucker's admission that after Zaoui's arrival here seeking refugee status, he continued to have ongoing associations with individuals who had been involved with terrorist networks. This does not amount to a full-scale clearance of Zaoui's name - far from it.
The fact is that Zaoui entered this country illegally using a bogus South African passport that he flushed down the airplane toilet before seeking refugee status on arrival at Auckland Airport.
It's never been satisfactorily explained why he had to leave his family - a wife and four boys - behind in Malaysia to seek a new life in New Zealand. Malaysia, a Muslim country, has not kicked out the Zaoui family in the five years since Ahmed Zaoui has been in New Zealand. What is clear is that the Algerian has managed to jump the immigration queue ahead of other potential immigrants rather than follow the appropriate processes."
The theme of Zauoi's queuejumping is taken up by the more centrist Colin Espiner on Stuff who also condemns the SIS and the government.
"The SIS is going to have to do better than the reasons it’s provided to the public so far. They are that Zaoui had come clean about some things he previously hadn’t told them; that the SIS had recieved “fresh classified information” about the nature of his association with terrorist groups in Algeria; and the length of time he had been in New Zealand and his public profile.
The last excuse is perhaps the lamest of all - is the SIS saying that terrorists can come to New Zealand, as long as they settle down here, play soccer, get on the Campbell show on TV3, become a media celebrity and attend the New Zealand Music Awards."
And Colin continues:
"Immigration stuffed up every aspect of his arrest and custody, his interviews, and his subsequent hearings. The Refugee Status Appeals Authority gave the SIS and Immigration an absolute roasting for the way they handled the case, basically charging the SIS with relying on information it had pulled off websites.
Zaoui has become a major embarrassment for the government and the SIS alike, and I think that’s the real reason he is finally a free man.
I guess if tenacity, queue jumping and flushing one’s passport down an airliner toilet is what it takes to get to stay in New Zealand, then that is the message that goes out to the wider world."
And noting no interviews from Zaoui himself in today's papers, I guess the fawning profiles can wait until tomorrow. If I see his face staring at me on the front of the Sunday Star-Times tomorrow, I think I'll just stick with the Herald on Sunday.
By the way, how is Christian convert and muslim apostate Ali Panah doing this fine weekend?