Bridges, Brownlee ordered out of Parliament

Simon Bridges and Gerry Brownlee were turfed out of Parliament today by the Speaker, Trevor Mallard, in another sign of an ongoing battle between them.

Bridges was not getting the answers he wanted from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and when Mallard rose Bridges said “Oh, here comes the protection.”

An overreaction from Mallard?

An attention seeking stunt?

Whatever, it is unlikely to change much.

This is how it panned out.

Question No. 2—Prime Minister

2. Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her Government’s statements and actions?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes.

Hon Simon Bridges: Why did she assert last week that Mr Sroubek’s estranged wife, quote, “changed her tune”, and that she is, quote, “the National Party’s informant”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I assume the member is referring to responses made on my behalf. To answer the question, the Deputy Prime Minister, at the time, was making reference to information that I believe at that time was already raised in the public domain. Certainly, the first I knew of that information was when it was raised with me by the media.

Hon Simon Bridges: What does she say to the claim by Mr Sroubek’s estranged wife and family that her Government’s statements have been beyond appalling, and have caused immense stress and feelings of utter hopelessness in the estranged wife?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, the first I knew of some of those issues was when they were raised with me by the media, and I have seen some reports since then. My expectation would be that if we had information brought to us that raised concerns around her safety, we act appropriately on that. When that issue was first raised with me, I told the Minister directly about that issue, and I understood he followed that up. My understanding is that is what has happened in each case that concerns have been raised with us directly.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can we be clear that she’s rightly distancing herself from statements made on her behalf that this woman was the National Party’s informant?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: What I’m pointing out is that—

Hon Simon Bridges: Oh, so you’re not?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: —my first knowledge of some of these issues was when they were already brought into the public domain, and that whenever we’ve had issues—

Hon Simon Bridges: What’s that got to do with anything? Do you stand by the statements or not?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: —of concern raised, we acted appropriately—

SPEAKER: I don’t know how many times I have to tell the Leader of the Opposition: when he interjects, he is not to do it in the second person.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she think that tarnishing a victim’s reputation by inferring they were politically motivated, and pushing her to feel utterly hopeless, aligns with her kinder, more compassionate style of Government?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The first time I heard any such connection was actually in a media report—I think, my recollection is, on Radio New Zealand. That was the first time I heard that statement. I’d have to say, if there’s genuine concern about protecting that individual’s privacy, we would not be having this question in the House right now.

Hon Simon Bridges: How did Immigration New Zealand get the home address of Mr Sroubek’s estranged wife, given there was a police safety plan in place—facts known only to the police?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I obviously have absolutely no involvement with Immigration New Zealand’s following up on issues or concerns or, indeed, interviews or questioning. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to have that knowledge or that level of involvement.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she agree with her police Minister on this, who did have a view, that, quote, “There are some people who just need to be kept safe, and there is no way that anyone apart from police should know where that is.”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I think there’s appropriateness to the statements the police Minister was making. In fact, my understanding is that when he’s been informed of issues, he’s dealt with that entirely appropriately.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is it OK that two police detectives and Immigration New Zealand turned up at the estranged wife’s home address, unannounced, to obtain a changed statement from her, leaving her feeling “extremely vulnerable, exposed, and under threat.”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Obviously, I wouldn’t have knowledge of some of the level of detail that the Leader of the Opposition is raising. My advice would be that if these are issues that have indeed occurred, it would be appropriate, I think, for the Minister of Police to put them to the police and have them follow up independently of him. It is an operational issue; it is appropriate for them to respond. There’s also an independent police complaints process if there has been anything that’s occurred that has been questionable or should be followed up on.

Hon Simon Bridges: Will she answer whether it’s OK that two police detectives and Immigration New Zealand turned up at the estranged woman’s home address, unannounced, to obtain a changed statement from her, leaving her feeling “extremely vulnerable, exposed, and under threat.”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I’ve said, I simply cannot know exactly what’s happened in this scenario. What I am laying out are all of the appropriate channels that are available for the member to ensure that this is looked into appropriately, because that is not something I will have detail on. I also want to point out that if this individual is feeling vulnerable, they should be supported, and canvassing these issues openly, here in this House, I don’t think is one way of doing that.

Hon Simon Bridges: Has the system let down the estranged wife of Sroubek?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I would have to be intimately involved in every level of detail in order to know that. What we do need to make sure is that if there are complaints there that need to be made, they are followed up on appropriately, and I’m sure Ministers will ensure that that is the case if the member brings those complaints directly to them.

Hon Simon Bridges: When will the Opposition get the representations made to the Government on Sroubek’s behalf?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Obviously, this is a case that is still potentially subject to legal challenge. The Minister of Immigration has put out the information that is available at this point, but at the same time there is a process still to be gone through.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she know personally any of the people who have made these representations?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I am not privy to the representations in the case that have been made, and nor would it be appropriate for me to be privy to the representations or the process that immigration independently conducts in these situations.

Hon Simon Bridges: When will career criminal Karel Sroubek leave this country?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: When this process is complete. Obviously, the Minister of Immigration has made public his decision.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she anticipate it will now take years, given the court case that will ensue?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I am not going to answer a hypothetical on this case. The Minister has issued his decision; now there’s a process to be run.

Hon Simon Bridges: Has she entirely washed her hands of anything to do with the Sroubek fiasco, and is she ducking and diving to get out of its way? [Speaker stands] Oh, here comes the protection.

SPEAKER: No—the Leader of the Opposition will leave the House.

Hon Simon Bridges withdrew from the Chamber.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Struck a raw nerve.

SPEAKER: He will be followed by the shadow Leader of the House.

Hon Gerry Brownlee withdrew from the Chamber.

This was followed by National MPs walk out of debating chamber (RNZ):

A large number of National Party MPs have walked out of Parliament this afternoon during question time.

And Parliament continued without them.

Stuff: National leader Simon Bridges kicked out of the House after questioning PM on Sroubek

Fronting media after his expulsion, Bridges doubled down on his accusation the Speaker was protecting the Prime Minister from scrutiny.

“I was trying to ask the Prime Minister serious questions about the Sroubek fiasco. She wouldn’t answer and the speaker leaped to protect her – I called him on it. I said ‘here comes the protection,’ ” Bridges admitted.

Criticising the Speaker in such a way is a fairly serious breach of the parliamentary rule-book. But Bridges said it was in the public interest to break the rules in this instance.

“What I’ve seen is a Prime Minister who hasn’t answered serious questions. Here, we’re talking about a victim, we’re talking about very serious matters there should be answers to that she knows about or should know about as Prime Minister.”

Bridges said the walkout was not planned or coordinated.

“No, certainly none of this was my intention. My intention today has been to ask serious questions about Sroubek, about the estranged wife who feels like she has been targeted, that she is a victim of being called by Winston Peters effectively a National Party informant.”

Mallard said he had been reflecting on the supplementary question when he rose and it was out of order on at least two counts.

“As I rose, he questioned my impartiality.”

 

 

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19 Comments

  1. oh dear.. Mallard has finally started booting the Natl MPs out.
    9 looooooong years of the previous speaker doing it on a very regular basis, you would think, they knew it was coming.. sooner or later.

    Maybe Bridges & Brownlee (& the rest of Natl) just need to finally realise; YES they are in opposition & need to start behaving like ADULTS at work, rather than spoiled Brats !

    Reply
  2. robertguyton

     /  December 5, 2018

    Mallard’s quite justified in booting Bridges out the door. He had warned him about the seriousness of attacking the “chair” – Bridges did so and got his marching orders. Good to see. Gerry’s tagging-along is pure bonus for us Lefties – good work, Trevor!

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 5, 2018

    Parliament is hotting up.

    Reply
  4. Alloytoo

     /  December 5, 2018

    If the PM was not privy to presentations present in the file, then how was she in a position to invite the opposition and ourselves to “Read between the lines?”.

    Was she lying when she made that invitation, or at very least misleading us into thinking she was indeed privy to the file. (As did the deputy PM)?

    Or was she lying today, and attempting to withhold information from the House?

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  December 5, 2018

      Nothing to do with the post. Bridges got the Spanish archer and Brownlee scuttled along behind.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  December 5, 2018

        Bennett went incendiary later on, but it was like watching a marshmallow burn.

        Reply
      • Trevors_Elbow

         /  December 5, 2018

        Every thing to do with the topic of Sroubek and that is what this post is about. You’re a troll and a troll with low comprehension skills.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  December 5, 2018

          The topic of the post, Trevors_Elbow?
          “Bridges, Brownlee ordered out of Parliament”
          You seem to be disconnected from the reality of what Pete wrote.
          Seems as if you are … trolling….

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  December 5, 2018

            The topic of this post would also include discussion as to WHY they were ejected from the house & what led up to that occurring – please try harder Robert.

            Reply
          • Trevors_elbow

             /  December 6, 2018

            Robert… Robert… try harder. The actual topic is far broader and the ejection from the house a mere theme in the symphony that is the Sroubek Affair.

            This is starting to travel the Meteria trajectory and we know where that ended up …

            Reply
      • Alloytoo

         /  December 5, 2018

        Like the PM and DPM you are welcome to pretend the questions don’t exist. The adults will continue to discuss in while you all close your eyes, cover your ears and chant “most transparent government ever.”

        Reply
    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  December 5, 2018

      Very good point – when supporting Ian Lees Galloway it was all intimating she had seen the file, that it include information that supported Sroubek staying and used the infamous “read between the lines” comment to intimate she knew it was a justified decision to let him stay….

      Now the 5th reverse gear on the Jacindamobile has been engaged and she is scuttling away as quick as possible.

      The “do you know anyone who made representations” question is going to haunt her. And the jungle drums will stay beating out the likely names who made representations on Sroubeks behalf and how Ms Ardern is connected to them.

      Not.A.Good.Look.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  December 5, 2018

        “Hon Simon Bridges: Does she know personally any of the people who have made these representations?

        Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I am not privy to the representations in the case that have been made, and nor would it be appropriate for me to be privy to the representations or the process that immigration independently conducts in these situations.”

        That’s going to come back to haunt her? You’re putting things in her head out of your head.
        How does she know if she personally knows any of the people who have made representations if she doesn’t know who made representations??

        You could say that I’m being pedantic or playing with words and angles and Ardern is doing the same. Give the woman some credit then for being a learner. Not a learner as in ‘L’ plates, learner as in having observed John Key and Steven Joyce over years.

        The incident today might be characterised as Bridges and Brownlee in an ongoing battle with Mallard. It also might be a sign that the methods they and their former colleagues mastered are coming back to bite them on their bums. And in Dad’s Army parlance, they don’t like it up ’em.

        Reply
        • Alloytoo

           /  December 5, 2018

          The problem is, whatever she was doing she effectively perjured herself and perhaps Winston.

          Reply
        • Nookin

           /  December 5, 2018

          Except though, the name of one such person has been published along with a photo of the guy with labour party members.

          Reply
      • Alloytoo

         /  December 5, 2018

        It’s frankly impossible not to conclude that the PM and DPM attempted to mislead parliament and the country.

        The question is now: Why?

        Reply
  5. PDB

     /  December 5, 2018

    Ardern spends record number of days for a PM absent from the house, comes back and seems to know nothing of what Winston has said on her behalf and finds out through Newshub that Twyford has made a major unapproved change to Kiwibuild. If she cant do the PM job properly give it to someone who can.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  December 5, 2018

      Add in all the days Kelvin Davis has not been in the house in order to avoid answering the hard questions and they make quite the duo…

      Reply
  1. Government appointed Speakers are always contentious, but Mallard… | Your NZ

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