Bridges continues inquisition of Government over Sroubek

Simon Bridges and National have continued to niggle away at the Government, in particular Jacinda Ardern, trying to uncover a connection between the Prime Minister and the decision to not deport Karel Sroubek (now reversed).

Bridges wasn’t in Parliament yesterday (as is the custom on Thursdays for National and Labour leaders), but tweaked by tweet:

This followed Question Time (transcript edited)

Question No. 1—Prime Minister

1. Hon PAULA BENNETT (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her answers to oral questions in the last two weeks in relation to Karel Sroubek?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Prime Minister: On behalf of the Prime Minister, yes.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she still say, “There’s no way that I can answer that question.” regarding who made representations on Karel Sroubek’s behalf; and, if so, has she asked who made those representations?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, the answer is we don’t know, other than of the ones that did go public, such as Mr Sweeney—and there may be others, but we’re not aware of them.

Hon Paula Bennett: Is she concerned that there might be Cabinet Ministers who have links to people who have made representations on behalf of Karel Sroubek?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: We’re not in the business of engaging in the permission of this House to allow someone to enter a fishing competition in the hope that somehow they might catch something. Here is the reality: I made a very clear statement, on behalf of the Prime Minister, that there are hundreds of people who would have been associated for a number of reasons with Mr Sroubek. To incriminate them all on the basis of their innocent association is just so wrong.

Hon Paula Bennett: Has she asked whether her Ministers have links to any of the people who made representations on behalf of Karel Sroubek?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The answer to that question is, on behalf of the Prime Minister, there will be a number of members of Parliament, who, if they go through their recent decade-old associations, would quite possibility, because of their sporting engagement and interest, have been associated. But that in no way means that they are responsible for the criminality for which Mr Sroubek’s in prison at the moment.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she still believe the Deputy Prime Minister and Iain Lees-Galloway are the victims in all of this, as she said last week?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, when one is seeking to arbitrate or decide on a process and critical information is denied to that referee, arbitrator, or in this case judge, or in this case Minister, then, yes, they do become a victim, because the system that we would have expected and had a right to expect was in place when we became the Government was a system that would work, not one that was shot full of holes and inadequacy.

The key quote from that is “The answer to that question is, on behalf of the Prime Minister, there will be a number of members of Parliament, who, if they go through their recent decade-old associations, would quite possibility (sic), because of their sporting engagement and interest, have been associated.”

That’s a fairly vague ‘confirmation’, as Bridges put it:

Winston Peters just confirmed in Parliament that Govt members “quite possibly” will know Sroubek. More to come I would say.

But this suggests that this inquisition is not over yet. This continues to have legs because of the evasiveness of Ardern in response to questions aiming at an admission she may have been more closely associated to the deportation decision (made by Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway) than she has been willing to admit so far.

The media seem to be largely leaving the inquisition to Bridges and his National colleagues.

Leave a comment

21 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  December 7, 2018

    But this suggests that this inquisition is not over yet. This continues to have legs because of the evasiveness of Ardern in response to questions aiming at an admission she may have been more closely associated to the deportation decision (made by Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway) than she has been willing to admit so far.

    Possibly. I’ve been watching some of this with interest. There’s also the possibility the responses from the PM and particularly the Deputy PM will get unparliamentary and the Speaker may let them get away with it. More grist for their latest mill.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 7, 2018

      In a way, I hope that he does let them get away with things that he won’t let other people get away with, and does it obviously.

      Reply
  2. Noel

     /  December 7, 2018

    The media seem to be largely leaving the inquisition to Bridges and his National colleagues.

    Maybe they have realised that outside Parliament it no longer holds any interest with the majority of Kiwis.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 7, 2018

      Possibly. But the bias of the Speaker is topical and made it onto te news.

      Reply
      • NOEL

         /  December 7, 2018

        Old news for the majority of Kiwi’s who have probably moved on.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  December 7, 2018

          Yes. The idea could maybe be to make something happen that’s new news.
          Still, might just be lack of imagination. Hard to know at this point. Will just wait & see.

          Reply
  3. duperez

     /  December 7, 2018

    Let’s continue the inquisition here then. Was the estranged wife of Karel Sroubek in a ‘safe house’ in the common understanding the public has of that term from watching cops and robbers and spy things on tv?

    The sporting link answer from Peters was weird. It suggests that the word masters and crafters in the backroom should be in the back rooms knocking round generic answers for such a question.

    “Is there concern that there might be cabinet Ministers who have links … ?” could be a question asked on just about anything. It takes the narrative to suggestions of wrong doing and so is excellent. Batting it off with a simple “No,” wouldn’t satisfy those who want to speculate. Or make mischief.

    Ministers have links to many people who constantly make representations on behalf of the worst criminals in the country. Lawyers. Bennett is trying to paint sinister pictures to imply sinister doings. We could have the same question every sitting day. We could have the same answer every day if they construct one, not the Peters mishmash.

    It was disappointing Bennett didn’t go the whole hog on Wednesday when she had the opportunity when speaking in the General Debate. She got all shouty, frustrated at not getting answers they wanted, but did not have the balls to front up and tell the world outright what she is trying to make people believe.

    She and Mitchell and Bridges want people to believe that there is corruption, that Sroubek got favourable treatment because the PM knows one or some of his mates. They are now trying to create the impression that Ardern kept Sroubek in the country because of knowing someone who knows him.

    They want people to believe that the guy’s ex-wife was in a secret house, known only to police, yet Immigration people turned up at the door to heavy her.

    My questions if an inquisition is to continue are for Paula Bennett:
    Why didn’t you and your colleagues outline specifically and directly the allegations you are making through insinuations about The PM and the Sroubek case when you had the chance on Wednesday? Parliamentary Privilege and all that,

    Are you concerned that one of your colleagues as Minister did not have repeat sex offenders excluded from the country? Who got to him in those cases?

    Who is the Caucus leaker? Do you think they are after your job?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 7, 2018

      What if the purpose of all these irritating, petty questions is really not to prove anything, but to cause something?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  December 7, 2018

        What if the purpose … ?

        It’s not about some crusade for integrity, or honesty, or openness, some noble act to protect the ex-wife. Or protect the public from the possible danger from Sroubek. It’s politics.

        (The frenzy about the case from some outside the political environment would seem to be irrational given the other individuals who have been allowed to stay in the country. That’s politics.)

        Cause something … ? Cause, cover, connive, caucus, posturing …
        It’s all part of the game. Sroubek was a simple vehicle, then his ex-wife, and now the mysterious links.

        One of the the saddest things was one of the funniest. Paula Bennett getting all worked up and passionate about some bullshit thing. If only she’d got half as ardent about real issues in the country.

        Reply
    • Strong For Life

       /  December 7, 2018

      What if the purpose of all these pertinent and important questions is to uncover the truth to why Mr Lees-Galloway allowed a drug-dealing, violent, wife-beating, gang associated thug to stay in this country? If PM Ardern had done her job and sacked Lees-Galloway for sheer incompetence, the issue would have died down by now. That she didn’t and in fact supported his decision leaves her open for questioning.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 7, 2018

        I can say that if I was in a safe house, it wouldn’t worry me if Immigration knew in these circs.It’s not as if it’s in the electoral roll or phone book.

        I agree, Strong; it would be stale buns if she had sacked ILG. She’s the PM, she should have the guts to act like one.

        Reply
      • duperez

         /  December 7, 2018

        That could be the purpose too and it’s terrible that a drug-dealing, violent, wife-beating, gang associated thug gets to stay in this country. On his release he is bound to be a danger to me and anyone else on the country.

        I must’ve been asleep when the brouhaha went on for months about the repeat sex offenders, with some very young victims among them, who were allowed to stay in the country in recent years. On their release they are certainly aren’t bound to be a danger to me or anyone else on the country.

        The ‘good behaviour’ provisos for Sroubek don’t cut it. They do for the other offenders though.

        Reply
  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  December 7, 2018

    The media seem to be largely leaving the inquisition to Bridges and his National colleagues.
    At least one senior, highly respected journalist (Bob Edlin or Ian Templeton) is keeping an eye on this matter.

    https://pointofordernz.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/putting-the-sroubek-puzzle-together-is-challenging-perhaps-a-key-piece-is-missing/

    Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  December 7, 2018

      A review of Hansard is even more disturbing, it would appear that the PM can’t be bothered to read Hansard to see what’s been said on her behalf, she prefers to find out about it in the mainstream media.

      That’s either very lazy or very stupid.

      We really deserve better.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  December 7, 2018

        why?
        You had 9 years of..’I can’t recall’…’I’ve got brain fade’…’Don’t know’…can’t remember’…’what I can…say’!!

        Reply
        • alloytoo

           /  December 7, 2018

          That more like a guinea pig than a squirrel.

          Even the quality of trolling is in decline.

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  December 7, 2018

            I think Blazer was talking about ‘I can’t remember signing the paintings’ and ‘I didn’t notice how fast the vehicle was going’ Helen Clark.

            Reply
            • alloytoo

               /  December 7, 2018

              Unfortunately “I don’t remember” isn’t even relevant, Jacinda has gone from:

              I know more than you, trust me, “Read between the lines.”

              to

              “I never knew anything. and so can’t tell you anything.”
              (Not, “I’ve forgotten since my first statement”)

              These are two mutually exclusive positions.

  5. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  December 7, 2018

    This Sroubek Affair just goes on and on
    National MP to lay privileges complaint against Winston Peters
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12173184

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 7, 2018

      They’ve all packed it in for the Year ma told me at dinner time tonight.

      The sooner we get Neve’s First Christmas over and done with and find out who National’s new leader is in the New Year, the better, in my opinion.

      Overall though, from the point of view of this interested observer and part-time, unpaid judge of political circuses & clown acts, it’s been a very entertaining year. Certainly more so than the previous year, which featured far too much tragi-comedy, on reflection.

      This year has seen a lot more pure comedy.

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  December 8, 2018

      Marek Mitchell playing a game of “look at me.” He didn’t want everyone looking at some person in ‘secret hideaway’ so he made a big fuss of her so that no-one would focus on her.

      For some strange reason they did so now he has to create a fuss to get everyone looking at him.

      Reply

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