Join the dots: Sroubek – Hardcore – Ardern

Richie Hardcore & Jacinda Ardern May 2015

Michael Woodhouse has been doing a fine job in Parliament, chipping away at Iain Lees-Galloway and exposing the information surrounding Sroubek’s immigration status. His latest efforts in the house today were rewarded by an admission from Ms Ardern that she received a text from Richie Hardcore when Sroubek was initially granted residency.

Newstalkzb has the details:? Quote.

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.

Hardcore is a fan of Ardern, writing on?his Facebook page?when she was elected Prime Minister: “I’m so happy someone I truly know is a kind and decent person is leading the country.”? End of quote.

It’s interesting that a man supporting a convicted drug smuggler is on such good terms with the prime minister that he has her mobile phone number.

When John Key exchanged texts with Cameron Slater it was quite the scandal, even though it was later found that he had done nothing wrong.? Quote.

The revelation follows weeks of pressure from National MPs about who might have tried to influence Lees-Galloway over Sroubek, hinting that it might be someone associated with the Government.

Woodhouse first asked Lees-Galloway about Hardcore during Question Time on November 7, over a month ago, and Lees-Galloway declined to answer because it might prejudice an Immigration NZ review.

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.”

Today in Question Time, Lees-Galloway said there was no public interest in naming the people who had supported Sroubek, but there had been no lobbying from MPs, former MPs, or their partners or staff.? End of quote.

Once again, Iain Lees-Galloway shows his lack of judgement because there has been enormous public interest in who had supported this drug smuggling criminal to get residency.? Quote.

“None of those who made representations were known to me. None of them were MPs, or former MPs, or MPs’ partners. I am unaware if any of the people had or have links to any political party.”

Asked what indirect or informal lobbying there had been in support of Sroubek, including from MPs’ staff or supporters, Lees-Galloway said: “None.”

He did not consider it in the public interest to release the names of those who provided support.? End of quote.

It’s time for the open and transparent government that Ms Ardern promised.