Sroubek -> Hardcore -> Ardern – pressure builds for full disclosure

The Opposition have been pressuring Iain Lees-Galloway and Jacinda Ardern on the Karel Sroubek deportation issue for over a month. National have obviously been trying to connect Ardern to the original decision by Lees-Galloway not to deport Sroubek after he completed his current prison sentence.

Today in Parliament, and immediately afterwards,  some dots were joined.

9. Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (National) to the Minister of Immigration: Other than Karel Sroubek’s lawyer and family members, who made representations on his behalf in respect of the deportation liability that was the subject of the Minister’s decision on 19 September 2018?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Minister of Immigration): I can confirm that amongst the information I considered on 19 September were letters of support from family, friends, business associates, and fellow sportspeople. Alongside the letters of support were sworn statements by a private investigator and a lawyer in the Czech Republic regarding the Czech justice system in Mr Sroubek’s circumstance. I do not consider it in the public interest to release the names of those who provided support or information regarding Mr Sroubek. Some have requested anonymity, and I consider it likely that naming people would expose them to unwarranted attention. None of those who made representations were known to me; none were MPs or former MPs, or MPs’ partners. I am unaware if any of the people had or have links to any political party.

That sounds carefully worded. Later:

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Has he seen any reports of the Prime Minister confirming that there were no “direct” representations to him; and, if so, what indirect or informal representations were made, including from MPs’ staff or supporters?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: None.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Did Richie Hardcore, a former martial arts champion, make representations in support of his application not to be deported?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: As I said, I do not consider it in the public interest to name specific individuals, and I’m not going to do it by a process of elimination either.

 

Afterwards from NZ Herald: Karel Sroubek supporter texted PM after residency initially granted

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received a text from a Karel Sroubek supporter after the Czech drug-smuggler was initially granted New Zealand residency, but she did not respond.

During Question Time today, National’s immigration spokesman Michael Woodhouse asked Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway if Richie Hardcore, believed to be a friend and supporter who met Sroubek through kick-boxing circles, had supported Sroubek.

Lees-Galloway would not answer, citing a lack of public interest, but after Question Time a spokesman for Ardern confirmed that Hardcore had texted the Prime Minister after news broke of Sroubek being granted residency.

“The Prime Minister received a text message from Richie Hardcore following media coverage of the first decision about Karel Sroubek that acknowledged the decision. She did not respond to the text.”

The spokesman said that Ardern and Hardcore were acquaintances and she had known him for years through his public advocacy work.

She did not know whether Hardcore had advocated for Sroubek, the spokesman said.

So that is a new development, but Ardern appears to be being not entirely open and transparent with her disclosure.

Muay Thai. Boxing.Drug & Alcohol Harm Reduction.Public Speaking. Occasional Media Comment Maker. Politics.Punk. Hardcore. Hip Hop. Day Dreamer.Idealist

Early last year, the Greens had political connections with Hardcore.

From 4 April 2017: Greens unite celebs and Kiwis in ‘fresh’ campaign video

Continuing its push to engage the younger voter, the Green Party’s new campaign video features plenty of fresh, recognisable faces amongst its regular roster.

Hunt For The Wilderpeople‘s Taika Waititi pops up via an iPad, as well as social commentator Richie Hardcore and comedians including Chris Parker and Alice Brine.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said the campaign signals a “fresh, new look” for the party.

The video features a surprising array of Kiwis for a political campaign. As well as actors and celebrities, the party says it went on the road to include regular New Zealanders in the video.

“The people who were keen to be involved and the resulting campaign is testimony to the incredible range and depth of Green supporters in this country. This campaign demonstrates who we are and what we stand for,” co-leader Metiria Turei said.

20 August 2017:

 and 

Phil Twyford’s Facebook page from 16 August 2017:

Join Jacinda Ardern​, Richie Hardcore, Carmel Sepuloni and Phil Twyford at ZEAL in Henderson this Saturday 2pm at Let’s Talk with Jacinda​ – an event organised for West Auckland youth by West Auckland youth. It’s time for a change. It’s time for the future. It’s time to talk! #LetsDoThis
(Authorised by Andrew Kirton, 160 Willis St, Wellington.)

Hardcore’s Facebook page 26 August 2017:

Richie Hardcore
Oh my god I love the way Jacinda conducted this interview; she’s so intelligent and articulate, I can’t wait for her to be our Prime Minister leading a Labour Green Government. ❤️💚

@RichieHardcore 23 April 2018: @NZClarke Welcome home bro, rise above and all that! NZ’s a terrible place to have more than 4 people know your name! Stay positive! 💛

Remember that lees-Galloway said in Parliament today:

I am unaware if any of the people had or have links to any political party.

This may just be a bunch of coincidental connections, but I think that Ardern needs to provide a full disclosure (open and transparent) about what sort of association she and Gayford have had with Hardcore, and whether there has been any link via Hardcore to the Sroubek deportation decision.

NZ Herald:

National leader Simon Bridges said tonight that Ardern had not been upfront and it was time she told the whole story.

“She’s only told us this much because of our relentless questioning. It beggars belief to say that this would be the first contact that she has had with Richie Hardcore about this case.”

Bridges said Ardern should release the full text message, and asked why Hardcore would have sent a text if she didn’t know who Sroubek was.

“For total clarity, the Prime Minister should appear in the House tomorrow and make a Ministerial Statement about her associations with Richie Hardcore, Sroubek and any of their other associates.”

Ardern has avoided addressing this openly, which has increased speculation and suspicions. Last week in Parliament when Bridges accused her of ducking and diving the Speaker Trevor Mallard stepped in and kicked Bridges out of the House.

But National are likely to keep coming back to this until Ardern fronts up openly and provides credible disclosure. Otherwise, it will look increasingly like she has something she wants to hide.

 

50 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  December 12, 2018

    The game is simple – to have people believe that Ardern is corrupt. For some, if she was as much as in the same room as Hardcore on any occasion, in any circumstances means she gave favoured treatment to Sroubek.

    • her problem now is of her own making, avoiding fronting up and disclosing whatever connection she may or did not have with the Sroubek deportation decision. If it was simply she had political dealings and perhaps a friendship with Hardcore, and unconnected to that Hardcore advocated for Sroubek over his deportation, she should have front footed it, weather conjecture and it would have been over weeks ago – if there is no link.

      Obviously avoiding answering questions about it has created a difficult situation for her that will now be harder to explain credibly.

    • PDB

       /  December 12, 2018

      I think you’re just diverting there Dupz – links appear to show Ardern on more friendly terms than just ‘being in the same room’ whilst Gayford and Hardcore seem like good buds.

      In saying that there is no smoking gun (yet) and nothing may come of it anyhow – look at how Ardern got away with lying in parliament about not replying to a text from Derek Handley.

      • Blazer

         /  December 13, 2018

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10861491

        ‘A spokesman for Immigration New Zealand said today Antolik would have the chance to make a submission as to why he should not be deported before his case is put before Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to make a decision’

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 13, 2018

          If Hardcore (is that his real name ???) is a good friend of CG, JA must know him reasonably well..

          • Gezza

             /  December 13, 2018

            I had to stop, think, and scroll up to find out who the heck CG is.
            Now I know but that’s how much attention I’ve ever thought he’s worth.

  2. Chip

     /  December 12, 2018

    Fishy, Very Fishy. I have seen the 2 together, as have many, Good to see MSM finally giving this some sunlight.

  3. PDB

     /  December 12, 2018

    Similarities with the Derek Handley case where this ‘friend’ of Ardern was initially appointed to a role (outside normal procedure & to the surprise of many when it became public) and the PM replied to his texts (as Handley showed when he released the texts) even though she told parliament she only received one text from him which she didn’t reply to.

    Here we have Sroubek that should have been an instant ‘no’ in terms of staying in the country (even ignoring the fact he went back to his home country) and Ardern has a friend & big supporter of Sroubek who happened to text her as soon as Sroubek got given residency. Again Ardern says she received just the one text which she didn’t reply to.

    Could be something or could be just coincidence. However in both cases the PM has not been as upfront & transparent as she should’ve been. The text may prove interesting reading.

    • Gezza

       /  December 12, 2018

      It’s interesting that celebrity / social connections are proving as potentially suspect and troublesome for this “girlfriend”-next-door PM as business ones have for other politicians in the past.

      • PDB

         /  December 12, 2018

        It’s not what you know it’s who you know…

        • Gezza

           /  December 12, 2018

          Christ ! :/ What with her CTO appointee mate, and now this! If this sort of thing keeps up, we might have to let her go ! >:D

          Who else have they got? 😳

          • Gezza

             /  December 13, 2018

            I’ve been thinking some more about this.
            Shit. They haven’t GOT anybody else, have they? o_O
            That’s a worry, that is. 😐

        • Blazer

           /  December 13, 2018

          whens Dr Jiang getting kicked out for lying on his immigration application?

          • High Flying Duck

             /  December 13, 2018

            Ask Iain Lees Galloway – he’s in charge of these things now.

  4. Blazer

     /  December 13, 2018

    not impressed ..the fact Hardcore has the P.M’s number is interesting.
    Bit like Slater having Keys number,even though a few here downplayed that as being significant.

  5. David

     /  December 13, 2018

    I was looking for coverage in Stuff and the Herald but this important story is unavailable. As PDB has put the PM has some explaining to do but she probably wont have to do that while Mallard is speaker and the women of the press gallery rally around.

  6. robertguyton

     /  December 13, 2018

    “National is demanding that Ardern release the text. While they are at it maybe they could release Bill English’s 450 texts at the same time.”

    https://thestandard.org.nz/nationals-sroubek-fizzle/

    • Gezza

       /  December 13, 2018

      One vaguely remembers this as a minor embarrassing incident for a Knight of the Realm & former National politician now doing well for himself in the private sector. The matter having now been consigned to the wastebasket of history & of no importance compared to the continuing embarrassing revelations & discomforts of the co-leader of the current administration.

      • robertguyton

         /  December 13, 2018

        One has a very poor memory.

        • Gezza

           /  December 13, 2018

          Yes. 👆🏽 That one.

          5 minutes, 30 seconds remain of my time pour vous today, m’sieu.

  7. robertguyton

     /  December 13, 2018

    Lefties are celebrating the revelation that this text is the smoking gun – is that it !!!?
    Wahoo!

  8. robertguyton

     /  December 13, 2018

    ” Last week in Parliament when Bridges accused her of ducking and diving the Speaker Trevor Mallard stepped in and kicked Bridges out of the House.”

    He kicked Bridges out of the House because Bridges broke the House rules, not because of what he accused the PM of something. Facts, Pete – grab ’em, get to know ’em!

    • David

       /  December 13, 2018

      Turns out Bridges was right and Mallard was protecting a less than forthright PM who did her level best to mislead the house as did ILG.
      Mallard will need to be a bit tougher on his bretheren because time and again their shiftyness is making him look a bit Margaret Wilson like.

  9. unitedtribes2

     /  December 13, 2018

    Its looking more likely that Lees-Galloway was under political pressure to make the decision he made. There is not many other reasons he would have done so. It was a remarkable dumb decision. For him to knowingly put his career on the line the pressure must have been strong. Unless is was bribery or threat of violence. Its not hard to imagine that CG had a part in this also.

  10. duperez

     /  December 13, 2018

    PDB

    That wasn’t diverting, that was pointing out that it doesn’t matter if they’ve been bosom buddies since three years old, or has spoken to him twice the aim is to have people think she’s corrupt.

    It would be reasonable for someone to unearth communications I’ve had with various Ministers over the years and use them to characterise relationships negatively in the event of my supporting someone seeking some sort of support from a Minister.

    Early in the year there were attempts to portray someone ‘liking’ someone or ‘friending’ someone on some online social media site as evidence that they were in cahoots about something and evidence of nefarious or suspicious motivations and activity.

    • PDB

       /  December 13, 2018

      Ardern should have formally declared the Richie Hardcore text ages ago as her connections to him (and in turn his connections to Sroubek) have been common knowledge for some time. This follows on from Ardern’s less-than-honest answers regarding her ties & communications with Derek Handley.

      It’s not so much her connections to these people, more her not being totally ‘open and transparent’ in her communications with these people.

    • robertguyton

       /  December 13, 2018

      You well reasoned explanations are wasted on PDB, duperez. He’s dyed in the wool.

      • PDB

         /  December 13, 2018

        Bet you thought you’d never ever see Helen Clark in a Hardcore photo eh Robert?

        • Trevors_elbow

           /  December 13, 2018

          Mind bleach required….

        • robertguyton

           /  December 13, 2018

          When you put it that way, PDB….you do know, PDB, that Mr Hardcore is a White Ribbon man, don’t you?

          “Here is a more up to date article on him on 25 Nov 2018 which everyone should read – particularly Bennett and Woodhouse. (And Bridges and Mitchell)

          This article explains why he and Ardern etc may well be in contact and rightly so. Amongst other things a lot of his advocacy these days is in the area of violence towards women – a subject on everyone’s lips and in our thoughts at present following Grace’s murder/manslaughter.

          Hardcore is on the board of White Ribbon and does speaking events on their behalf. ”

          https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2018/11/richie-hardcore-reveals-how-his-abusive-past-helped-his-crusade-against-toxic-masculinity.html

          • PDB

             /  December 13, 2018

            I did see that Robert – what has Hardcore had to say about the ‘fearing for her life’ claims of the wife of his good mate Sroubek then?

  11. duperez

     /  December 13, 2018

    Irrelevant robertguyton.
    He is a bad bad man because he knows Sroubek and he is a bad bad man because he knows Ardern. And he is a badder badder man for having the temerity to text the PM. And he is the baddest baddest man, and by default so is the receiver, that he texted one about they other after a decision was made by someone else which was favourable to one.

    It is clear that the PM should employ a couple of staff full time to list all people who contact her or meet her, personally and through other media. The list would include the basic description of what the contact was about and the length of time it lasted if oral.

    • PDB

       /  December 13, 2018

      It’s all very simple dupz – Ardern releases the text that confirms it says exactly what she said it does and that it was sent at the time she said and all is sorted.

      No doubt in your mind the fact her staff only confirmed the existence of the text once Ardern was safely out of the house for the year (until early Feb 2019) was purely coincidental.

      • robertguyton

         /  December 13, 2018

        And at the same to, Bill English releases the Glenys Dickson/Todd Barclay texts and tapes, and we’re all good!
        Okay?

        • PDB

           /  December 13, 2018

          No wonder you vote Green Robert – living in the past comes naturally to you!

          • robertguyton

             /  December 13, 2018

            Bill’s refusal to release never was explained, was it, PDB.
            “Lift the carpet, sweep, sweep, sweep!” (National Party campaign song).

            • Sunny

               /  December 13, 2018

              Todd Barclays acknowledged he was wrong and stood down. If the PM or Galloway admitted to some sort of serious wrong doing in relation to influencing the Sroubek case then we wouldn’t need the text. The case would be closed. But at this stage we have a bizarre decision and withholding of the facts. So yeah let’s see the text and the documents on who made representations.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 13, 2018

              sunny said:
              “Todd Barclays acknowledged he was wrong and stood down.”
              I retired defeated.

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  December 13, 2018

      “should employ a couple of staff full time to list all people who contact her or meet her, personally and through other media.” She has a whole office to keep track of this stuff..

    • PDB

       /  December 13, 2018

      Ardern: “”If someone wants to put in an OIA [request], we’ll consider it under those terms – but I have reluctance.”

      Hardly ‘open & transparent’ I would’ve thought if the text all she says it was. Obviously hoping she can slip away for a couple of months holiday and hope everybody forgets about it.

      • robertguyton

         /  December 13, 2018

        She’s reluctant because she knows people text her believing only she will see their text. If she does release his text, all sorts of ordinary, kindly, trusting people could be reluctant to do so ever again. You see, PDB, Jacinda is honest and respectful of the feelings of others.

        • robertguyton

           /  December 13, 2018

          I am surprised you can’t understand that, PDB. Jacinda made it very clear, repeatedly in the House. I notice that Bridges couldn’t understand it either. Perhaps the two of you have a blind-spot when it comes to such matters. Bridges has droned on and on about this, as have you, and it all amounts to nowt.

        • Gezza

           /  December 13, 2018

          You see, PDB, Jacinda is honest
          I think we can take it as read that that statement is incorrect as it has not been proven in general and that claim shouldn’t be advanced as a given.