Sroubek affair continues to dog Lees-Galloway

Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway has made a mess of deferring the deportation of Karel Sroubek, and has made more of a mess of the handling of it when it was pushed by National.

He now admits he didn’t read the whole report given to him before making a very important decision about someone’s future, and he made the decision within about an hour. This seems to contradict assurances he gave to Jacinda Ardern that he had given the matter “careful consideration”, which could put her in a difficult position.

In Parliament today:

Question No. 2—Immigration

2. Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (National) to the Minister of Immigration: Did he meet with officials on 19 September 2018 to discuss the deportation liability of Karel Sroubek, also known as Jan Antolik; if so, at what time?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Minister of Immigration): Yes, at 4.30 p.m.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Can he confirm he first considered Karel Sroubek’s case on 19 September 2018, as indicated in his answer to written question 27289?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: Yes.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Can he confirm he wrote to Karel Sroubek’s lawyer confirming his decision to grant residency that same day?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I understand that the letter was post-dated to that day, but I am advised that it was sent on the 21st.

SPEAKER: Backdated, I think the member means.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Can he therefore confirm it took him less than an hour to make his decision to grant residency?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: As the decision maker, it’s important that I base my decision on accurate and robust information. Immigration New Zealand prepared a comprehensive file, detailed information, which I used to make that decision, following exactly the same process that that member used when I made that decision. I made that decision on that day.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. A helpful elucidation of the process which did not address the question, which was “Can he confirm he took less than an hour to make that decision?”

SPEAKER: Well, I’ll ask the Minister to have another go at it. I mean, days don’t finish at half past five., but carry on.

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I made the decision on that day using the information that I had available to me.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Why was this decision, one which the Prime Minister has said he gave “careful consideration to” and was “a very difficult decision”, decided just minutes or hours after being presented to him?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: Because I used the comprehensive file that was prepared by Immigration New Zealand and presented to me. As a decision maker, it is important that I base my decision on accurate and robust information. Publicly available information may be wrong or unfairly prejudicial. That’s why it is important to have a robust process to prepare the information for my consideration.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Is it common practice for him to consider cases to, in his words, “weigh matters of public safety and the criminal behaviour of the individual involved” just minutes or hours after being presented to him?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I used the same process that the member used when he was Minister.

RNZ: Immigration Minister made Sroubek decision in just one hour

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has admitted he took only an hour to decide to let Karel Sroubek stay in New Zealand and did not read the entire case file.

In response to questions in Parliament, Mr Lees-Galloway confirmed he made his decision on the same day he received the file.

He later told reporters he took “an hour or so” to make up his mind and said that was “much, much longer” than he’d taken on other cases.

“I took the time that I felt was necessary. I certainly asked questions. I certainly looked closely at different aspects of the file,” he said.

Mr Lees-Galloway said he went through the summary with his officials, but admitted he did not read the file in its entirety before making his decision.

“I read the aspects of the file that I felt were necessary to make the decision that I made.”

The minister defended his decision-making, saying he followed the exact same process as the previous government.

“This is the usual process for these decisions.”

Mr Lees-Galloway said he’d since read the full file “several times” and stood by the decision he made on the basis of the information provided.

Asked whether in hindsight he would have taken more care and time, he insisted he was “thorough” and had given the case “due consideration”.

“That’s the job.”

It appears that Lee’s-Galloway did not do a thorough enough jonb in making his decision, and has done an awful job of dealing with the flak.

Also today Sroubek put out a media statement:

Following the Minister of Immigration recently cancelling my liability for deportation there have been numerous reports and statements about me made to and reported in the media.

Much of what has been said about me and my circumstances does not present the true picture.

In 2010 I faced charges. I was properly acquitted at trial, as were all of the other people charged. Comments made about that case in the media are not balanced, and in particular do not reflect that the key prosecution witness’ evidence was discredited.

The National Deputy leader by her questions in Parliament has implied I may have had something to with an alleged burglary of a property I have an interest in. The allegation I was involved in that burglary is completely without foundation. I was not involved in the burglary.

Until New Zealand Immigration reports backs to the Minister and I have had the opportunity to respond to him on any issue he may wish to raise I will be making no further comment or statement.

And National are not backing off.

Leave a comment

42 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  November 8, 2018

    Why is he currently ‘a tenant of the Crown’ as one Mob member wittily called it ?

    ILG has really stuffed this one up.

    Reply
    • Yeah, probably, but…so what? Small change when you’re dealing with difficult cases daily. Great fun to round on him but…so…what…?

      Reply
      • I think it’s fairly important that ministers deal with difficult cases thoroughly. A person’s future in the country was at stake. That’s not something that should be treated as small change.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  November 8, 2018

          was the Thiel citizenship a difficult case..11 days in the country ,a billionaire who mesmerised Joyce and co…German,U.S citizen already…add one.

          Reply
          • Seemed an odd one to me. But it didn’t involve a convicted criminal or deportation.

            Reply
            • Yeah, nothing to be concerned about there…plenty of money splashing about…

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 8, 2018

              Why are you concerned then? What harm has Thiel’s citizenship done except help ameliorate Saint Jacinda’s stupid slagging off of Trump?

            • Blazer

               /  November 8, 2018

              what about Dr Jiang..’he was ‘told’ to lie on his application.(by ommission).

              All done in the best possible..taste.

          • Trevors_Elbow

             /  November 8, 2018

            Hmmmm…. internationally successful business man v convicted criminal and Hells Angel associate… and Blazer thinks they are the same. truly weak but entirely predictable thread jacking and derailment by Bol….

            And Pete just lets ya do week after week…

            Reply
      • Reply
        • Corky

           /  November 8, 2018

          The irony is he didn’t really need to read the report. All he needed to do was read about a false passport and gang connections..and goodye! The country would have been behind him 100%..maybe minus a few Greenie types.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  November 8, 2018

            Rubbish, a minister can’t do that. He needed to read the report. Only the ignorant would have been behind him. He needs to read the evidence for himself in a case like this.Otherwise all hell would break loose if he’s been misinformed.I don’t want this man here, but I don’t want sloppy work by ministers, either.

            Blazer still doesn’t get it that some people can get in if they invest $X in the country, I forget what it’s called. It’s been in for many years and has nothing to do with anyone liking the person.

            I

            Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 8, 2018

        Who is being rounded on ? Sroubek (whose crimes should have been an automatic bar) or the Minister who has granted him residence and has admitted to not reading the report on him ?

        Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  November 8, 2018

    Sroubeck welcomes any females to visit him in prison.He is ‘young,slav and…single’… 😉 bol.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 8, 2018

      Slav, not slav….but any woman who did get involved with him would be a fool.

      Reply
  3. Strong For Life

     /  November 8, 2018

    Tick, tock, tick, tock… another inept minister waiting for the axe to fall. Lees-Galloway must resign over this incompetent cockup or be sacked.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 8, 2018

      The sad thing is that none of it need have happened,

      He contradicted himself on 3, ending by saying that he HAD read the report (so there, yah boo) when he had said ? times that he hadn’t.

      Allowing this criminal to stay will not be Labour’s most popular move.

      Reply
  4. PDB

     /  November 8, 2018

    One big unanswered question is who made representations on Sroubeks behalf? Some of the story still does not add up.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  November 8, 2018

      Maggie and Grimalkin think he is ‘yummy’ ..maybe one of them.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 8, 2018

        That doesn’t mean that he’s not a thug and a criminal and someone who should have been deported long ago.

        Reply
  5. robertguyton

     /  November 8, 2018

    Sroubek Jami-Lee Ross affair continues to dog Lees-Galloway Simon Bridges.

    Reply
    • They’re not exclusive of each other. Just another attempt at diversion.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  November 8, 2018

        One is an example of the complexities of governing, the other an historic immolation of a major political party. Jami Lee Ross is making political history; Sroubeks is not.

        Reply
        • I think you will find that failing to meet ministerial responsibilities can’t be swept under a ‘complexities of governing’ rug.

          Yes, governing is complex – all the more reason to ensure standards are met.

          Opposition party mayhem is just a problem for the parties involved, as Labour and Greens found out last term – which didn’t prevent them from being given a governing role by another party to meet their own interests.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  November 8, 2018

            Failing to meet ministerial responsibilities is the morning chorus for all governments, Pete. This example is nothing special; compare it, if you will, with McCully’s Saudi sheep scandal and get a sense of proportion. Jami-Lee Ross’ ‘bits and bobs’ are something else altogether. He’s put the Nat’s in a spin (I’d say, Death Spiral) and diversions such as this Czech issue, don’t lessen the threat he poses to the whole National Party, its history and its future, one little bit. Forget your “Labour and the Greens” diversionary ploy, this is a national Party crisis WRIT LARGE!!!

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 8, 2018

          Your wishing does not make it so.

          Reply
    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  November 8, 2018

      Do you ever contribute anything? Or are you just a little southern troll thrilled by thread jacking?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  November 8, 2018

        might ask the same of an interloper like yourself with little to offer to robust..discussion.
        Being a successful businessman should not be enough to be granted citizenship after 11 days in the country..especially when you state you have no intention of residing..here…got it!

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 8, 2018

          Why not? It doesn’t take 11 days to realise he has a lot more to contribute than most born here.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  November 8, 2018

            has taken more than he has given thanks to that fuckwit Joyce and his heads you win ,tails NZ taxpayers lose.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 8, 2018

              Don’t you love it governments pick wimners?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 8, 2018

        Robert contributes 100% drivel, Blazer 95% (has been known to say something sensible on rare occasions and subjects).

        Reply
  6. Gerrit

     /  November 8, 2018

    For all the “whataboutism” coming from the defenders of the red faith.

    Worth a read

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11905478

    “He was granted citizenship in 2008 by Shane Jones, then a Minister in the Labour government, against the advice of Internal Affairs who believed Yan did not meet the “good character” requirements.”

    Let those without sin, throw the first stone.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  November 9, 2018

      “Let those without sin…”Good one, Gerrit – I take it you are referring to National’s hypocrisy around this issue. Their house is glassy-as.

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  November 9, 2018

        No referring to those that keep on about “what about so and so” from the blazing red faction.

        Just a reminder that the red faction is not pearly white and have form in granting residency to crooks.

        Surprised the blazing red faction has not bought up DotCom residency by Dr Coleman as an example of favourtism.

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10780938

        But then again DotCom is a red faction favourite, so no complaints.

        Hypocrisy lies with the commentator that claims blazing squirrels in regard Thiel and others and showing selective memory to other higher profile cases.

        Reply
  7. duperez

     /  November 8, 2018

    I’m trying to come to terms with the notion of “careful consideration”. Is there to be some sort of standard for that? Is that a length of time thing or a quality of thought? I remember the bastards in School C who finished papers in short order and got very high marks.

    I wonder if in the capacity of Immigration Minister they would make quicker decisions than me. Or better ones.

    Has Lees-Galloway made a bad decision because the wheels fell off with Sroubek or because they might? And we won’t know until he does something wrong or reaches a natural death? And the others allowed to stay on the country, the same for them? And if they were allowed to remain and stayed on the right side of the line it was because instead of their cases being considered for one hour they were considered for two?

    The only 100% way to be sure and safe is to give any person committing a crime the exact same careful consideration – an automatic 5 second “No, now go” with no other consideration. There is always the possibility someone might reoffend.

    The personal judgement of a Minister is not some magic wand waved. This week I’ve seen reference to sexual offenders not being chucked out. Imagine if one of those had been allowed to stay under Lees-Galloway’s watch.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  November 8, 2018

      Lees-Galloway doesn’t strike me as a speed reader. Even if he was, speed reading is one thing..comprehending what you read at the same speed, quite another.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 8, 2018

      One would hope careful consideration required being aware of all relevant facts and weighting them appropriately prior to making an informed, objective and rational decision.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  November 9, 2018

        having no intention to reside here and asking for Citizenship …is all good as far as careful consideration goes..though!

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 9, 2018

          What’s the problem? Do you resent NZ citizens living overseas or are you just a hypocrite?

          Reply
  8. Griff.

     /  November 9, 2018

    The Immigration department is more the problem than this one case
    The minster would have relied on what was placed in front of him.
    That this case even got in fount of the minster asks question about the department I have not seen addressed.
    We know their is an entire industry dedicated towards rorting the system charging for advice that is distinctly corrupt and in effect selling residency.
    .
    I am not a great fan of conspiracy.
    The Hells Angels NZ have been here for a long time since 1961 with our chapter being the first in the world outside of California and the third ever founded. Their influence and wealth would surprise many. They are organized criminal gang whose reach goes deep and long within our society. It would not surprise me at all if they influenced the ministry to get this result.

    This does not change the fact that the minster did not do his job up to the standard needed in allowing a convicted criminal to stay here.

    Reply

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