Whaleoil Transcription: Mike Hosking & Jacinda Ardern discuss Karel Sroubek’s NZ residency

Karel Sroubek image credit Newshub

ZB 30 October 2018 at 7:45 am

Mike

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is with us this Tuesday morning, a very good morning to you.

Jacinda

Good morning.

Mike

Talk to me about Mr Sroubek and without trying to waste a lot of time with reading between the lines and stuff you can’t tell me, was an investigation undertaken in the Czech Republic regarding why he couldn’t go back, therefore why you granted him residency?

Jacinda

As in did New Zealand officials go into the Czech Republic?

Mike

Correct.

Jacinda

I couldn’t tell you the level of detail around that particular case and that isn’t something we have been getting into.  But what I have made the point around is: if this was simply the case of an individual who was convicted on drug charges who held residency, that would be a straightforward deportation. Straightforward, very straightforward. The fact that it wasn’t a straightforward deportation and that the minister said it was a very difficult decision does give some indication that obviously there were some other pretty hefty matters at play.

Mike

Have you not asked Lees-Galloway what sort of investigation and work has been done on the case?

Jacinda

I’ve had a conversation with him, but again, I’m not going to go into that .…

Mike

No, I understand that part.  But do you know what the rationale is?

Jacinda

Yes, I do. And….

Mike

Would you make the same call?

Jacinda

I support what the minister has done, but I also acknowledge that it was a very difficult decision for him.  And what I am also pointing out now, now, now all of the liability now sits with this individual.  This day and hour notice, anything further is now off the minister’s conscience and it’s on theirs.

Mike

Can you assure us that something more was done as regards his safety back in the Czech Republic than his word?

Jacinda

I can assure you that the minister gave full consideration of all of the facts in front of him and, Mike, it was not obviously an easy decision and I have no doubt that he spent a bit of time talking with officials about the decision that he made.  Keeping in mind as well that this is not something that happens frequently. But it’s also not specific to individual governments of particular stripes.

Mike

Yes, I understand that.

Jacinda

In the last….108 of these decisions, the last minister had to make.  It’s at a level, it’s a discretion that ministers have, and it just points to the difficult job that they have to do, regardless of whether they are National or Labour.

Mike

But the problem with that is that Woodhouse has said all of that, and I realise this isn’t you, I get all that, but this doesn’t appear to come even close to anything he would have granted?

Jacinda

Well again, he doesn’t have the full information in front of him, like in the same way we don’t have the full information on the 108 deportations he cancelled.  You have to rely on the ministers who do have that legal information and have access to the full information without any of the other concerns to make these calls. And I support the minister in doing that.

Mike

But when you say….

Jacinda

And as I say, Mike, it would be obvious otherwise of course we wouldn’t treat lightly someone who is convicted at this level.

Mike

I accept that, I accept that but ….

Jacinda

The minister has had to make a call on some other factors.

Mike

But part of your answer there says “with all the facts in front on him”.  What I want to be reassured is there were a lot of facts that came out of the Czech Republic.  In other words, you did a proper investigation; and this guy who is a crook and a liar didn’t just turn up, spin you a lie and you’ve fallen for it?

Jacinda

Yeah, no.  If you are asking whether or not we are naïve when we make these decisions, you cannot work in this space of …in this field, and just simply rely on people’s word.  Of course, there are [sic] other information provided to individual cases, to back up or support either way, because of course you can’t simply just make decisions made on someone’s word.

Mike

Having been told to read between the lines, I have, and what I have concluded, his life is in danger back in the Czech Republic so, going with that, he then, to make this worse, and this is what I think upset so many New Zealanders, so he’s got his case back in the Czech Republic, he’s on the run, he’s being chased allegedly by crooked cops hence he’s seeking some sort of shelter in this country.  He then, then, goes and smuggles some drugs, gets himself associated with gangs, ends up in jail and insults our hospitality and yet we still want to give him residency?

Jacinda

He’s on absolute notice Mike, because at this point…..

Mike

Well, pfft.

Jacinda

Because what happens to him in the future is not on the minister or the government or New Zealand’s conscience.  It’s on his.

Mike

Well, let me ask you it this way.  Why is he on notice and why is he our problem, why have we made him our problem? Why do we give a monkey’s if he is in danger in the Czech Republic send him back!

Jacinda

Again, this, again is a decision that we are asking one individual member of government to make a call, that’s a pretty difficult call that, you know that ultimately, we all have to live with.  He’s obviously, he’s made the call…for the information he has in front of him, but also set down some pretty solid ground rules for anything happening in the future.  And again, as I say, not an unusual situation, just happens to be one that we are debating live now.  If it were straightforward he would have been deported already.

Mike

So, when he comes out of jail and he can’t get work and he’s on a benefit and we pay for that as well, all of that’s part of the deal, is it?

Jacinda

Hmmm, my…again, I’m probably…might be stepping too far in my understanding of his ability to support himself, you know, but I wouldn’t … that’s not something I have an immediate concern about.

Mike

Why not?

Jacinda

Again, around his ability to support himself.

Mike

So, he’s come here with plenty of money?

Jacinda

No, no that’s not what I’m saying, about just his employment status.  My understanding is he might have had his own business.  But I’m not sure, again Mike; immediate concern for us was making the decision based on the information before us, making the best call that we could.  Obviously, the minister’s done that.  I support him in that.  If this person makes another decision that falls him foul of the law, they [sic] are deported from New Zealand.

Mike

Right. Having said that, even if his life is in danger back in his homeland, and that is what has driven this government’s decision, you’re prepared for him to flout the law to the extent he has, incur the costs to the extent he has, by the taxpayer by being in jail and all that…..

Jacinda

Mike, no one is…no one is sitting here applauding the fact that we are in this situation…

Mike

Well, you’re defending it.

Jacinda

Again, again well I’m defending the fact that we have a set of rules in place, a set of policies and processes that allow one person to have everything in front of them.  Now that weighty job sits with Ian Lees-Galloway.  I bet there’s a lot of people out there that …. wouldn’t want this job right now.

Mike

No, it’s a hard job.

Jacinda

A hard job because obviously….

Mike

Big deal, it’s a hard job!

Jacinda

With the information that some of us have heard it’s an obvious decision, right?

Mike

But then we go back to the cases, and you must have known where this was going, the cases in the public arena this morning of a woman who put the…. who had another name and she put the wrong name on a bit of paper and she’s been deported.  The South African family who offered to pay for their own medical treatment, wanted to stay in the country, they’re booted out of the country. Good hard line and so, no, you’re all gone.  So, suddenly a guy can peddle drugs, sit in jail, cost us a fortune, be on the run and we’re, we’re cool with it?

Jacinda

Mike, we sometimes have to make decisions that aren’t easy ones but we make them because we have a set of principles as a country that has obligations on us.  The same thing happens for extradition and deportation.  As a matter of principle, there are things that we have to factor in, because we are a country that supports… things that often lead to difficult decisions, things like human rights.  And that is difficult. It’s not an easy decision because if it was we would simply….unintelligible.

There are other things at play that weighed on this minister’s mind he’s had to make the tough call, and a lot of us wouldn’t envy having to be in that position.  We also make tough calls on the other direction that do take a sympathetic view to people in difficult immigration situations as well. This just happened to be a case on the uglier side.

Mike

Australia doesn’t seem to have a problem on character, why don’t we have a character rule, whereby, you’re a scumbag, you’re out?

Jacinda

There are a number of tests for people making these applications and one thing I should correct is that this individual actually had residency, aah, granted to them I think 10 years ago.  So, it was slightly incorrect in some of the descriptions to say that he was….

Mike

So, he already had residency 10 years ago under a previous government?

Jacinda

Under a different name, umm so that was…again, this is getting into some of the technicalities of the case.

Mike

So, he got residency 10 years ago under a different name, under a different government and then being represented under a different name under a new government he also gets residency.

Jacinda

Mike.

Mike

In the meantime, having been associated with the gangs and peddled the drugs.

Jacinda

Mike, deep breath.  It is not unusual sometimes for people who made claims, that they are…that their life is at risk to make an application under a false name. That is not unusual, that case was dealt with separately.

Mike

Right.  That part’s not unusual, and you can have some potential sympathy.  The difference in this case is he then went on and associated with gangs, became a drug smuggler and ended up in jail and still got some residency.

Jacinda

And I am not going to defend the actions of this individual. That’s what makes this case so difficult and so ugly.

Mike

By making the decision you’ve made, you are defending it.

Jacinda

I’m defending…. I’m, I’m…what I am pointing out, is that there is obviously other information on the other side of the case, Mike.

Mike

And should that information, given the sort of case, not be forthcoming from the most open, honest and transparent government this country has ever seen?

Jacinda

Then where do we draw a line on putting out every information on every immigration case – that’s a question is asked over?  Sometimes there will be information that we can’t release, but I’m of course trying to make references to some of the things that are already in the public domain.

Mike

Is this decision going to come back and haunt us?  And if it does, what are the consequences for you and Lees-Galloway?

Jacinda

The decisions that ministers make all the time, they have to weigh up in both directions, you know.  Had he made the deportation order, would it come back to haunt us?  Had he not made the deportation order?  This just points to the fact that when you are a minister that has discretion it is a very hard job.

Mike

Appreciate your time.  Jacinda Ardern the prime minister each and every Tuesday morning.

End of recording

 


 

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