Ardern finally fronts up on Hardcore re Sroubek

Jacinda Ardern made things difficult for herself for nearly two months by evading questions over her connection to Richie hardcore, who is connected to Karel Sroubek and his attempt to avoid deportation.

Ardern finally saw fit to provide what sounds like a reasonable explanation in Parliament today:

This is the only text I received on the matter of Mr Sroubek. It’s the only communication I had with him on Mr Sroubek. I’ve had no conversations with Mr Hardcore on this case, nor would it have been appropriate. Again, as I’ve said time and time again in this House, I had no involvement in this case, no knowledge of it until it was in the public domain, and the member very well knows that the Minister himself made the decision one afternoon, with officials in the room, after no conversations with any other members of Parliament.

Most of the exchange in Question Time in Parliament today.

1. Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her statements and actions in relation to Karel Sroubek?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes, and season’s greetings to the member.

Hon Simon Bridges: Thank you. Will she release the precise content of the text message she received from Richie Hardcore about Karel Sroubek; if not, why not?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I’ve already indicated in public interviews, I am concerned around precedent setting. Obviously, I receive hundreds of messages from members of the public on issues where I have no clear involvement or decision-making role. I have, however, given an indication of the content of that text. I’ve acknowledged that Mr Hardcore acknowledged to me that he knew Mr Sroubek and, of course, that he agreed and commended the decision because he knew Mr Sroubek. I’ve also acknowledged that I did not respond and that I received the message after the decision was made and after it was in the public domain.

Hon Simon Bridges: What exactly did the text message say?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, as I’ve said, I wish to seek some advice from the Ombudsman on the handling of information that I receive from members of the public, because I receive hundreds of messages. Indeed, on this case, I have received over a hundred messages—obviously, some not so favourable. I am seeking some guidance from the Ombudsman as to how I handle each of those individual pieces of correspondence.

Hon Simon Bridges: Was it a thank-you text?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: When we went down and advised ourselves that I had received that message—openly—I acknowledged that it commended the Government on its decision.

Hon Simon Bridges: How many text messages has she received from Richie Hardcore while Prime Minister?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I just simply cannot answer that. I have said from the outset that I’ve known Mr Hardcore for a number of years. My recollection is primarily that it was through his role with Community Alcohol & Drug Services as an anti – drug and alcohol campaigner based in Auckland, and subsequently his involvement as an anti – violence and sexual violence campaigner. My understanding is that he’ll know a number of members on that side of the House, as he does in Parliament generally.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is this the only text message she’s received from Richie Hardcore while Prime Minister: one solitary text message about Karel Sroubek?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I’ve already acknowledged that I know Mr Hardcore through a range of his work and functions and roles. I’ve already acknowledged that publicly. This is the only text I received on the matter of Mr Sroubek. It’s the only communication I had with him on Mr Sroubek. I’ve had no conversations with Mr Hardcore on this case, nor would it have been appropriate. Again, as I’ve said time and time again in this House, I had no involvement in this case, no knowledge of it until it was in the public domain, and the member very well knows that the Minister himself made the decision one afternoon, with officials in the room, after no conversations with any other members of Parliament.

Hon Simon Bridges: Why didn’t she directly answer Susie Ferguson’s question today on Richie Hardcore on Morning Report: “How would you characterise him? Is he a friend or a family friend?”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I would not characterise him as a family friend. He’s someone I’ve known for a number of years, and I’ve been very open about that.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she know why he has repeatedly, in the recent past, described her as someone he’s lucky enough to call a friend?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I have no qualms about him doing so. What is at question and in play here is whether or not I had any engagement with Mr Hardcore over this case, and as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, the answer is no. In fact, when his name was first raised in Parliament, it was myself and my office that proactively acknowledged that I had received a message from him.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she accept that Iain Lees-Galloway took less than an hour to decide the Sroubek matter?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, and this raises the contradiction in the member’s line of questioning, he has consistently criticised the Minister for making the decision the same day he was informed of the case but, at the same time, has tried to imply there was inappropriate involvement from other members and Ministers. The fact is the Minister has always acknowledged he made the decision on the day it was given to him, the first time he was told of the case, when he was in a closed room with officials.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she accept that Sroubek is a gang-affiliated, convicted drug dealer?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I accept that the Minister of Immigration has now made a decision that would lead to the deportation of that individual.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she accept that Richie Hardcore made representations for Sroubek that are on the deportation file the Minister considered?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I can only rely on what the Minister of Immigration has said in this House because I am not aware and do not know who made representations, but my understanding is that last week in the House, the Minister of Immigration ruled out him being involved or making representations on this deportation order.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she accept that she knows that same Richie Hardcore well?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I’ve acknowledged that in the House; I’ve made no secret of that. I have known Mr Hardcore for a number of years in a number of guises.

If Ardern had been as explicit as this weeks ago she would have avoided a lot of hassle and speculation.

68 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  December 18, 2018

    Ardern’s Waffle Shop is back in business and doing well.

    • Gezza

       /  December 18, 2018

      Sometimes best to watch the video & check out the body languages and hoots n hollers (if any)

      • Gezza

         /  December 18, 2018

        Did anybody hear what Jacinda called Simon in that part where Trev told her it wasn’t an appropriate term for her to use for the Leader of the Opposition and made her withdraw and apologise?

        • lurcher1948

           /  December 19, 2018

          They are playing noughts and crosses,no one wins but”simple”Simon seems to be a one trick pony and his crusade is costing NZ heaps in parliamentary time costs.He hasn’t asked anything else in weeks,you can feel that Jacinda wants to cross the floor to tap Simon on the back of the head and say(how many times are you going to ask the same question) it’s well past tedious,and hes mumbling more,Jacinda ask him to repeat the question as she couldn’t understand him.

  2. alloytoo

     /  December 18, 2018

    Why would Hardcore choose to text the PM “Out of the blue” and regarding a decision made by the immigration minister?

    If I “read between the lines” I get the impression that Hardcore felt that the PM facilitated the outcome.

    If that’s true, then I would have to wonder why he felt that way.

    Furthermore I get the distinct impression that the PM is using “Communicate” in much the same way Clinton used “Inhale” and “sexual relations”.

    • robertguyton

       /  December 18, 2018

      “If I “read between the lines” I get the impression… ”
      Powerful argument, right there.

  3. robertguyton

     /  December 18, 2018

    So…nothing.

    • artcroft

       /  December 18, 2018

      Apart from the PM receiving a text from a “anti – drug and alcohol campaigner ” welcoming Labours decision to grant residency to a drug dealer. WTF?

      • artcroft

         /  December 18, 2018

        I guess Hardcore is both aa long standing friend, supporter and idiot.

        • robertguyton

           /  December 18, 2018

          So…..still nothing.

          • artcroft

             /  December 18, 2018

            apart from an added insight into the intellectual inadequacy of Adern’s fanbase.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              So after weeks of intense questioning by the Opposition, nothing!
              Ardern has been clear all along. Nothing. Nix. Nowt. Nada.
              You see, it’s simple, Simon!

            • The problem is that Ardern hasn’t been clear all along. She fudged and avoided saying much for weeks. Fronting up and explaining now is odd – again we can only speculate, but she must have been concerned about something, most likely being seen to be connected to Sroubek.

            • And I see that you’re joining Ardern and others in the name put down. It may oor may not qualify as dirty politics, but it’s negative and nasty.

            • artcroft

               /  December 18, 2018

              Fun while it lasted.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              All those questions, wasted! I bet The Greens regret giving theirs to them now!
              What a bore it all was.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              So Ardern has fronted up and explained, Pete?
              That in itself is noteworthy. Key never did, nor did English. It sounds as though the Ardern regime is truly a break from the past.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              And a significant step in the right direction toward open and transparent governance, something we didn’t have under the Key-led National Government.

            • alloytoo

               /  December 18, 2018

              Lets not forget the PM and DPM lying to the NZ public.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              So Ardern has fronted up and explained, Pete?
              That in itself is noteworthy. Key never did, nor did English. It sounds as though the Ardern regime is truly a break from the past.

              Dunno where you get that idea from. I recall them fronting up and explaining lots of times when they were in the grotney pudding over something or other. The fact some of us didn’t like or believe them doesn’t mean that they didn’t front up, or that they didn’t explain.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              Deflecting and lying is not explaining, Gezza.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              Deflecting and lying is not explaining, Gezza.
              It isn’t when Ardern does it; that’s true. Nobody sensible falls for it.

              But can you link me to anything where Sir Bill or Sir John were caught out actually lying?

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              I haven’t the time to waste, Gezza, digging through old news, looking for unpleasant things. Christmas is coming and I’ve happy things to consider. I’m reading the Christmas story to the congregation of the local Anglican Church at their Christmas Eve service and have to be in good voice and happy state of mind so no dredging through Key’s rubbish for me. Feel free to do a search yourself; Google “Key’s lies” or something similar and you’ll get what you want.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              Saying “simple, Simon” is not nasty, Pete and it certainly doesn’t qualify as dirty politics; you’re just being silly now.

            • It looks like an attempt to establish a derogatory meme to discredit an opponent. That’s negative if not dirty politics.

              Do you think the Speaker was being silly demanding a withdrawal and apology?

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              I haven’t the time to waste, Gezza, digging through old news, looking for unpleasant things.

              I graciously accept your abject apology for your complete inability to back up your allegations, once again, robert, & note your sad and ridiculous attempt to disguise that with religious nonsense,.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              One doesn’t often see the words, “gracious” and “ridiculous” or “nonsense” in the same sentence. If I’d written that, Pete’d accuse me of nasty, dirty politicking. As it is, I brush your words away like blonde hairs on JLR’s coat.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              One doesn’t often see the words, “gracious” and “ridiculous” or “nonsense” in the same sentence.
              One better get used to it if one is going to continue posting ridiculous nonsense. And be grateful for my graciousness. The last thing we need here is abuse.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              “simple, Simon” is a pretty elegant “meme” if that’s what it is. Pete, did you rail against the right’s blatant promotion of the “Angry Andy” meme? Key and his MPs used it in the House often and it was repeated all over the shop. I guess, being a fair sort of guy, you did protest loud and long about that – have you a link to those posts where you challenged that?

            • Yes I criticised ‘angry Andy’, it’s the same sort of dirty political dissing. And I’ve criticised Whale Oil trying to push ‘Cindy’ when they heard she didn’t like being called that. Childish name calling is a part of the reason politics and politicians are regarded so poorly.

              To see adults revelling in name calling nitwittery is quite sad for decency and democracy, in my opinion.

              And this shows that Ardern is no better than Key in using Question Time to abuse opponents.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              I did agree with Mallard’s ruling. Do you remember Carter requiring of Key to withdraw and apologise when he repeatedly called the then-leader of the Opposition, “son”? I guess you did several posts on that. A link would convince me.

            • I’ve posted on everything you have disliked in Parliament. Find it yourself.

              (Of course I haven’t, it’s just pathetic throwing around whataboutisms like this. I did criticise Key’s behaviour in Parliament a number of times. It makes a mockery of democracy – and you are a willing part of that.)

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              The Speaker’s reason for asking for that apology, wasn’t because saying “simple, Simon” was “dirty politics”. Unparliamentary behaviour, perhaps, but not dirty. You use the word too, too freely. The real dirty politics was a Key/Nat phenomenon.

            • I my opinion you frequently play derogatory disruptive dirty politics. And accuse others of being the dirty ones (of course some of them have been as well, but that should give you an excuse.)

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              Nonsense, Pete, you’re getting sillier and sillier as the discussion goes on. Key’s behaviour around abusing Opposition MPs and parties is in a different league altogether from Hacienda’s gentle prod. “simple, Simon” is not offensive, nor is it dirty; if you had a sense of humour, you’d likely find it no more than droll. I bet she doesn’t do it again; repeating it the way Key used to do, shouting it across the floor. Settle, Pete, have a kit-lat and a wee think. These are not the same phenomena.

            • “you’re getting sillier and sillier as the discussion goes on”

              Very funny coming from you Robert.

              As usual you have very different standards for politicians you side with and politicians you keep painting as some sort of evil enemy.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              I would characterise Ardern’s, “simple, Simon” as cheeky, where Key’s slights and smears were just plain nasty. How about you, Pete? Do you differentiate between them?

            • I would say that Ardern’s name calling was a deliberate attempt to create a derogatory meme, and going by the number of little helpers in social media it may have been successful for now. But it busts her claims of being a better nicer sort of politician. That’s probably more of a problem for her than her silly assault on Bridges.

            • PDB

               /  December 18, 2018

              “simple Simon” is so unoriginal all it tells me is that Ardern hardly has an original thought in her head.

              With that in mind one wonders if she will now take up cutting and pasting comments from The Standard?

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              “simple Simon” is so unoriginal”
              Well said, PDB and I agree entirely!
              It’s the reason he’s making no progress in the House and the explanation for his 7% ranking, I reckon.

      • Blazer

         /  December 18, 2018

        National minister Woodhouse had grounds to deport Sroubek and did not.

  4. duperez

     /  December 18, 2018

    If this is as bad as it gets with corruption in this country we’re lucky.

    If this is as good as it gets with politics in this country we’re well and truly stuffed. It’s like the bursar on the Titanic calling in all the authorities to investigate the allegations that kitchen hand no.14 put the canned fruit on the second shelf rather than the third. Allegations made up by kitchen hand no.17 who’s pissed off because the 4th chef smiled at no.14.

    No.17’s bitched to Mabel Eisentein and she’s spread stories to all her buddies on level three and now they want the captain to resign. And they want Mark Mitchell to take over.

    • robertguyton

       /  December 18, 2018

      National’s line of enquiry has been … feeble.

      • Gezza

         /  December 18, 2018

        National’s line of enquiry, while at times repetitive, petty, and sometimes appearing to make a mountain out of a molehill, has been very effective and has kept theImmigration MInister’s shambolic handling of the Sroubek case, the prologue, the aftermath and associated issues in the public eye and on tv newscreens for weeks.

        Does anybody remember JLR?

        Contrast this with several attempts by Andrew Little, when Labour leader, to do the same thing which resulted in embarrassing backdowns and written apologies from which he never recovered and which simply pushed him and Labour further down in the polls because both lacked credibility as a result.

        • robertguyton

           /  December 18, 2018

          “Does anybody remember JLR?”
          Yep. Everybody does. And we all remember that he’s still there, waiting, watching…

          • Gezza

             /  December 18, 2018

            Ah … this is what people remember about him …

          • artcroft

             /  December 18, 2018

            I saw him out and about on Friday. Looking very suave and dapper indeed. He could add colours to the chameleon I thought… but he could not pluck down the crown.

          • robertguyton

             /  December 18, 2018

            That final flash is when he took simple Simon out.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              Incorrect. Simon is so robotic he remains unaffected by the explosions & he still manages to fly for now

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              Call that flying! I’m betting that simple facsimile of a bird crashed moments down the track, just like SS.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              I think we’d best leave the SS out of this.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 18, 2018

              You won’t have to wait long. Short Shelf-life (SS).

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2018

              That’s SSL. I feel that some careful operators in National will bring him in for a soft landing after Christmas. But, we’ll see.

  5. artcroft

     /  December 18, 2018

    “What a bore it all was.”
    I agree. Here we were all thinking “This can’t just be a f**k up. No one’s that dumb. ILG was ordered to grant the drug dealer residency” but no… he was that stupid and gets to keep his job anyway.

    Yawn…I wonder how much Shane has frittered away today? $10mil? 20? Gosh what a bore.

  6. PDB

     /  December 18, 2018

    Ardern is known to be economical with the truth – nothing changes until we see the text in question which clearly shows what was written and when it was sent. If she is being truthful that will be the end of the matter.

    The fact she is doing all she can to not show the text is concerning. Talking about getting advice on all the texts she receives & what she should do with them appears to be an attempt to delay/ confuse the issue as we are only wanting the one specific text to be revealed. She could simply say that ss there is a public interest in this one particular text then an exemption shall be made in making it public – a truly ‘open & transparent’ govt would do that.

    One wonders if the text actually thanks Ardern for all her help rather than her govt as she states.

    • duperez

       /  December 19, 2018

      One of the good things about the text:
      In the USA there are those who go to wherever they go with their last breath with, “What happened on the grassy knoll?”
      Here we’ll have those expiring with “What did the text from Hardcore say?”

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  December 19, 2018

      How many texts did she receive and reply to with Handley? I can’t recall but didn’t it start at one unanswered as well???

      • Blazer

         /  December 19, 2018

        whats the secret to your success ..elbow…’GREASE?

  7. artcroft

     /  December 18, 2018

    I think I’ll let you have the last word and say goodnight.