Oh dear. The prime minister of the open and transparent government is now being accused of being dishonest about her text messages, received from Richie Hardcore, a supporter of Karel Sroubek, because she has pretended, all the way through this farcical situation, that she had no personal interest and a lot of secret information about the case that would change our minds about giving residency to a wife-beating drug lord who is in jail on drug trafficking charges… but is a lovely boy really.
Well, his mother says so anyway.
But the opposition doesn’t think so. Stuff reports: quote.
The Opposition leader claims the prime minister has been dishonest about a text message she received from a friend of Czech drug-smuggler Karel Sroubek.
When asked if he believed that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had lied about a message from Richie Hardcore, National leader Simon Bridges said by omission, she had been dishonest and that was “pretty much the same” as lying.
Ardern confirmed she received the message but said she did not engage with the unsolicited message. end quote.
I don’t have the prime minister’s mobile phone number to send a text to. Do you? So Richie Hardcore is a privileged person. Now why would that be? quote.
Bridges said it “beggars belief” that this was the first or only communication from Hardcore to Ardern about Sroubek.
He believed she knew more about Sroubek than she was saying or that Hardcore had been lobbying her. end quote.
I have to admit, this makes sense. Hardcore is clearly a close associate of Jacinda and Clarke. He is also an associate of Karel Sroubek. That the prime minister thinks it is okay to give her immigration minister directives to award residency to people supported by her friends is both surprising and very disappointing. That she may have actually done it beggars belief. quote.
“For nearly two months, my colleagues and I have been asking serious questions and the picture painted by Ardern was that she knew nothing about any of this … that’s dishonest.”
He said he did not buy her comment that her phone number was widely available and questioned why she would not release the text message.
Hardcore works in counselling and rehabilitation in Auckland and it is understood Ardern had met him at various events.
He had previously provided references in support of Sroubek (or Antolik as he was then known) to the sentencing judge in March 2016, arguing against him being jailed, and then to the Parole Board in December 2017. His pleas fell on deaf ears on both occasions: Sroubek was jailed in 2016, and the Parole Board refused early release in 2017.
When asked about the message on Thursday, Ardern said she would not release the text because she received a number of communications from a number of individuals in various capacities but she would consider an Official Information Act request. end quote.
You have to ask why she will not release the text. Let’s face it, the reason cannot be good. It is getting harder and harder to believe that Hardcore did not solicit the prime minister… particularly as Sroubek is such a lovely citizen, just grossly misunderstood. Sroubek’s wife, who is in a safe house in fear for her life, is clearly misguided in her assessment of him. quote.
She confirmed she had known Hardcore for a number of years and had proactively shared that she had received information from him, highlighting, it was only after the minister made his decision on the Sroubek case.
“I’ve only been asked in the past about whether I knew anyone that made representations on this case. I’ve made it very clear I knew nothing of this case until it was in the public domain. I do not know who made representations on the case and I could not, hand on heart, say whether anyone who contacted me made representation. I saw yesterday that the opposition were asking very direct questions – made the decision to put out there what contact I had received. I want to reiterate I did not receive this communication until the case was on the public domain.” end quote.
Whatever. What was all the stuff about ‘read between the lines’? She had ignored all representations on this case, in spite of the fact that he should never have been given residency. Not at any point, not at any time.
The prime minister is obfuscating here, and the deputy prime minister is covering for her, but then, as he is one of her henchmen, that should come as no surprise.
Winston was always a master of trying to hold the previous government to account, but he is ducking and weaving like a snake. He may appear smart in the house, but he is fooling no one. This government is probably the most dishonest government ever, and Winston Peters put it there.