Sroubek’s estranged wife ‘afraid for her life’, questioning of Lees-Galloway, Ardern continue

The Karel Sroubek immigration issue remains in the headlines after Sroubek’s wife has spoken out, saying she is afraid for her life. She also raises questions about the actions of the Immigration Service, who tracked her down at a safe house.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is still in the firing line, and Winston Peters is using the issue to try to score political hits.

Stuff:  Karel Sroubek’s estranged wife is ‘afraid for her life’

The estranged wife of drug smuggler Karel Sroubek feels vulnerable and afraid for her life, the House has been told.

National Party justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said she gave him a six-page letter that contained permission to speak on her behalf.  He said she had been threatened by gangs and was “genuinely scared”.

She was taking a massive risk speaking out and said she was forced to write the letter of support so her convicted smuggler husband did not get deported from New Zealand.

It was this letter that Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway put so much weight on when making his original decision to grant Sroubek residency.

One of the biggest questions that needed to be answered was how immigration officials tracked the woman down, when she was in a police safe house, Mitchell said.

“Yes, she made a submission in Sroubek’s support, but she says this was made under duress. She doesn’t want him to stay and has changed both her phone number and address, because of what she says are threats to her safety.

“The unwelcome visit by Immigration NZ to discuss her statement, a visit she later received an apology for, makes the situation worse.”

This was raised in Parliament’s Oral Questions (question time) yesterday. First, Simon Bridges to the Prime Minister (represented by Winston Peters):

2. Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her statements and actions relating to Karel Sroubek, including that information was “provided by his wife, for example, who I understand is the National Party’s informant”?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Prime Minister: Can I just say, on behalf of the Prime Minister, yes. And on the other matter, that question was put in this Parliament to the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues, and we’re still waiting for an answer.

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

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister—who can say that personally she wasn’t directly involved in those statements. On behalf of the Prime Minister, can I say when that matter was put to both the National Party associate, and I’m happy to give that person’s name. The National Party’s associate—

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

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, can I say “compassionate” and “kindness” are her middle two names.

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

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, can I say “compassionate” and “kindness” are her middle two names. And I just want to make this very, very clear: when a party has a penchant for leaks like their internal polls, like their PR to their caucus on how to handle questions from the media, and on this matter, they’re not to be trusted.

Peters effectively dismisses the concerns of Sroubek’s wife.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is she aware that in order to elicit changed statements from the estranged wife of Mr Sroubek to bolster the Minister’s decision, police and immigration officials turned up unannounced at her home leaving her feeling extremely vulnerable, exposed, and under threat?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, the reality is that the Prime Minister was not aware of that.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does the Prime Minister know personally any of the people who made representations on Mr Sroubek’s behalf?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, there’s no way that I can answer that question.

That question is likely to come up again, to Ardern when she is next in Parliament.

Also in Question 4:

4. Hon MARK MITCHELL (National—Rodney) to the Minister of Immigration: Does he stand by all his statements and actions in relation to Mr Karel Sroubek?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Minister of Immigration): Yes, based on the information and advice available to me at the time.

Hon Mark Mitchell: Does he stand by the statement that Karel Sroubek’s estranged wife has declined to participate in Immigration New Zealand’s review of his decision to grant Sroubek residency?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: Yes.

Hon Mark Mitchell: Is the Minister aware that on 5 November, immigration officials arrived unannounced at a house that the estranged wife of Karel Sroubek was staying at, known only to police as part of a police safety plan?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I’m not aware of the details of how the investigation was carried out. That is a matter for Immigration New Zealand and the police force.

Hon Mark Mitchell: Did the Minister, prior to 5 November, have a discussion about the location of the estranged wife of Karel Sroubek with the Minister of Police or anyone from his office?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: No.

Hon Mark Mitchell: Is the Minister aware that the estranged wife of Mr Sroubek told immigration officials that she was happy to help but would like her lawyer and support person present and was frightened of the target on her back becoming bigger?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I was told that the person in question declined to participate in the investigation.

Hon Mark Mitchell: Does the Minister believe the estranged wife of Karel Sroubek is a National Party informant, as stated by the Prime Minister, or a woman who is frightened of Mr Sroubek and sought help from the Opposition when it became obvious the Government was standing by its decision to grant Mr Sroubek residency?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I only know the matters that are relevant to the decision that I made. Those are that Mr Sroubek’s estranged wife provided a letter of support for him, that media reporting then suggested that there was some question about that support, and that when asked to elaborate on that and participate in the investigation into those matters, she declined.


I have been sent these comments:

I think you might agree that as reported this is a significant development in the saga, & a very disturbing one in terms of

  • how Peters appears to have, typically, maligned a genuinely frightened victim of this arsehole, Sroubek
  • how the Immigration Service appears to have ignored that she was in a police-organised safe-house & visited her unannounced to question her statement, and
  • how Lees-Galloway appears to have been totally incompetent and not had any feel for what it seems like should have signalled things didn’t add up, and
  • how INZ needs to be slapped around thoroughly for their incompetence.

Peters disgusts me but, from the story as reported here, this would be one of the worst examples of his political recklessness and disgraceful callousness.

I do agree that this is a significant development in the saga, with some disturbing aspects.

I expect this will continue in Parliament today. If Jacinda Ardern is present she should be well prepared, but the Opposition seem to be well informed and prepared as well.

I have seen claims of some sort of direct or indirect links between Ardern and Sroubek, but they are not substantiated, so at this stage speculation is not appropriate here. It is likely to be up to Ardern to address this herself.

 

Leave a comment

39 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  December 5, 2018

    The comments you have been “sent”, Pete – anonymous? To be trusted? Why?

    Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  December 5, 2018

    [I said that speculation at this stage is inappropriate. This includes references to others who have speculated. PG]

    Reply
  3. Bill Brown

     /  December 5, 2018

    [I said that speculation at this stage is inappropriate. This includes indirect attempts to implicate. PG]

    Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  December 5, 2018

    National looking to squeeze more juice from this orange.
    As if they care less for the…wife.

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  December 5, 2018

      Why not…lot of juice in this orange.

      Judging by Peters comments and the slack Police safe house protection…the government give a shite?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 5, 2018

        They wouldn’t want to appear to ‘care less’. Your statement makes no sense. Did you mean ‘as if they cared’ ?

        Reply
  5. Gerrit

     /  December 5, 2018

    Scary if in a Police organised safe house, immigration NZ can still find you.

    Why bother asking for Police protection if any Tom, Dick or Harry in another government department can knock on your door.

    Who gave out her address?

    Still more popcorn to be consumed.

    And yes, Peters is a right prick.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 5, 2018

      🤔

      I’ve always thought of him as a right, left, centre,hard right, hard left, far right, & back to the start again kind of prick, depending on where there might be some policies that could con some voters with authoritarian tendencies, anti-immigrant views, &, shall we say, unreliable memories & walking frames, must admit. :/

      Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  December 5, 2018

      Really if one must marry a drug pusher and all the money that comes with it, one must have to put up with a few discomforts when it goes pear shaped, and no Peters isn’t a prick, Pricks are people who use estranged wives to score political points like the tempory leader of the opposition

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  December 5, 2018

        Makes a big assumption that she knew he was a drug importer. Seeing he married her under his assumed name, she may not have been aware off his double life. Hence to need for, what now appears to be useless, Police protection

        “He married under the false name Jan Antolik, which he adopted when entering the country in 2003.”

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12156564

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  December 5, 2018

          she probably thought the Hells Angels were from …church…. 😉

          Reply
        • lurcher1948

           /  December 5, 2018

          So you are the new owner of the Auckland harbour bridge and vote National

          Reply
      • Gezza

         /  December 5, 2018

        National leader Simon Bridges told the House the first person contacted by Sroubek’s wife was a former Labour Party Cabinet minister who suggested contacting the Opposition.

        People like members of the Labour Party, you mean?

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 5, 2018

        Peters is trying to put all his fingers and toes into the holes in the CoL’s leaky dam, Lurch. Makes his bad temper even worse and isn’t a pretty sight.

        Reply
        • lurcher1948

           /  December 5, 2018

          Wheres Corky?hes missing all the fun

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 5, 2018

            Well, I’m not missing him.

            I can’t see why Immigration shouldn’t know where someone is; they’re not going to spread it.

            Poor Jacinda; fancy having Kindness and Compassion as names.

            Reply
  6. David

     /  December 5, 2018

    If a National deputy PM had made comments like this the MSM would be brimming with various groups slamming the re victimization of a vulnerable woman.
    Pretty shocking comments from Peters but fits with his grumpy old nasty bitter persona these days, at least he is stopping the more insane legislation from this bunch of misfits so guess he deserves a pass.

    Reply
  7. Gerrit

     /  December 5, 2018

    Can see a question the the minister of Police;

    “How safe are the people the Police have in safe houses and in witness protection schemes?”

    Follow up question;

    “How does immigration department get access to people in Police protection schemes and in safe houses?”

    This is going to stretch out right up to when the drug imported gets released from prison and outwards from there as his legal team (hopefully not legal aid funded by the ever suffering tax payer) proceed to keep him here.

    Still bigger sack of popcorn needed.

    Reply
  8. lurcher1948

     /  December 5, 2018

    The bad cheque could do a guest post here,PG on how to stay in NZ for 9 years under National come and go, import and deal drugs, get a huge house in Auckland,marry, all why being an illegal immigrant….pretty slack Woodhouse but not as slack allowing the raping Afghan to stay.

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  December 5, 2018

      ……………………oh look a squirel.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  December 5, 2018

        lazy retort to a factual post.

        Reply
      • lurcher1948

         /  December 5, 2018

        Save that for kiwiblog

        Reply
        • Gerrit

           /  December 5, 2018

          Why? It is an effective means to keep people on track.

          So far all and Brazer have done is thrown the drug importers’ wife under the bus as in she being in cahoots with her husband. All without proof or reference.

          What is your take that Police give location information to immigration regarding people in their protection.

          What is your take that on the advice of an unnamed ex Labour party minister, she take her concerns to the opposition and not the government?

          I guess you are in Peters camp and think she is a National party informant?

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  December 5, 2018

            …all you and Blazer….

            Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  December 5, 2018

            This money trail is pretty dubious. Implicates both National and Labour. Who was the commissioner of Police that was so benevolent to not just the drug importer but his in-laws?

            Perhaps the wife did know something? See Lurch and Blazer, this is how you do reporting.

            –”
            Karel Sroubek deposits $161,000 into a loan account held by his in-laws, Alexander and Natalia Bozhenko

            The Commissioner of Police freezes Sroubek’s assets, including cash held in a business bank account

            The Commissioner also applies for freezing orders of a Remuera property owned by Mr and Mrs Bozhenko

            The Bozhenkos agree to pay the Official Assignee $161,000 to avoid the Commissioner’s freezing orders

            Commissioner agrees to pay the Bozhenkos back $100,000

            Commissioner reaches a settlement with Sroubek and keeps $190,000″–

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/108459347/police-seized-190k-from-drug-smuggler-karel-sroubek

            Worth a read, but jeez, Police not doing us law abiding citizens a favour.

            Reply
  9. Bill Brown

     /  December 5, 2018

    I get the feeling you might know something a little more “firm” on this Pete?

    Reply
  10. duperez

     /  December 5, 2018

    I read the Maggie Barry thing then came to this Sroubek one..

    “Statements have been “beyond appalling” and have caused immense stress for the estranged wife, and feelings of utter hopelessness?”

    “… leaving her feeling extremely vulnerable, exposed, and under threat?”

    Simon Bridges said those things about Sroubek’s ex-wife. Has he said stuff in the same sort
    of tone about those claiming to be victims of bullying in Maggie Barry’s office? (Of course what one person will call bullying another might shrug off and not particularly notice or put into that category.)

    It seems though that any stress, hopelessness, vulnerability and threat felt by those in offices near him got the quick dismissal from Bridges.

    All fodder for political ends.

    Mark Mitchell of course wouldn’t play political games and it must upset him so much that a woman has said she is concerned and upset and in the House he is forced into saying something like “frightened of the target on her back becoming bigger.”

    Reply
  11. Zedd

     /  December 5, 2018

    What’s this.. the wife is now going out with a senior member of the Natl party ?? :/
    “Its all a conspiracy I tellz ya !” 😀

    Reply
  12. lurcher1948

     /  December 5, 2018

    SIMON SIMON, ask a new question(NOT THE SAME OLD ONE) and stop croaky MUMBLING, you are sounding BORING,BORING, a wet towel is more exciting than,Simon Bridges you are sounding like a death rattle of your leadership,i would give Simon Bridges 4% on his croaky examination

    Reply
  13. duperez

     /  December 5, 2018

    I didn’t see Parliament yesterday. Watching just now I thought I’d heard it all before. Just checking on here I see that the same questions were asked today of the PM which she personally couldn’t answer yesterday.

    The deliberate theatrical timing, like an American TV court drama, was funny. And was that a calculated effort to get kicked out? After the first warning you’d have to think it was. Are we playing a little martyr, Big Bad Trev, game?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 5, 2018

      Well, I watch QT quite often and Winston routinely commits bootable offences as a matter of course to the kindly admonitions but, as teacher’s pet, ever forebearing sufferance of Teacher Trevor, and always to the raucous and general merriment of the clowns on that side of the circus ring – and only once did he get the pip so much that he insulted the speaker to the point that it couldn’t get ignored, and got the boot – last week I think.

      Also I haven’t kept count but I have more than a sneaking suspicious the snatching away of supplementary questions vs awarding of them is very uneven and tends to overly favour the government members getting away with things the poor oppos don’t.

      And I say that as someone who regards them all with equal disdain.

      Reply
  14. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  December 5, 2018

    Stuart Nash the Police Minister gets it…
    The Police should not have released details as to Mrs Sroubek’s safe house.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12171765

    “Now her family has even greater fears for her safety, saying Mr Peters has ‘placed a fair and square target on the back … of a vulnerable young woman already dealing with enough challenges under the circumstances’.”

    Reply
  1. Sroubek’s estranged wife ‘afraid for her life’, questioning of Lees-Galloway, Ardern continue — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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