Mark Mitchell: ‘That’s my job’

Extract from the Hansard transcript of what National MP Mark Mitchell said in the video above.

[…] Hon MARK MITCHELL (National—Rodney): It’s ironic that the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand stood in this House and attacked a woman that was brave enough to come forward and actually tell us, share the information, and say that she had submitted under duress a letter of support to someone that didn’t deserve a New Zealand residency. You know what? They called her a “National informant”, because they don’t get it. They don’t understand it.

I had a gentleman come to my office three years ago. He was a Labour candidate. He ran for the Labour Party. He was coming to see me because he’d been to see his own team—they wouldn’t help him with an issue, so he came to me. Did I say, “Oh, sorry, you’ve been a Labour candidate. I’m not going to assist you. I’m not going to help you.”? No, I didn’t. I actually helped him with his issue, because that’s my job as a member of Parliament. I don’t care whether you support New Zealand First, I don’t care whether you’re a supporter or member of the Labour Party, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, or the National Party—if you come and ask for help and support, you will get it. That’s my job.

The mere fact of the matter is that, actually, the estranged wife of Karel Sroubek has never been a member of the National Party. She has never been involved with the National Party. She’s never been involved with politics, full stop. The first point of contact for her when she realised that she was in trouble because this Government was making bad decisions was a retired Labour Cabinet Minister. That’s who she went to for assistance, and, actually, he gave her good advice—good, balanced, objective advice.

I want to take my time to put the record straight. I had a meeting this week with the Hon Iain Lees-Galloway in his office, with three of his officials and with the Hon Michael Woodhouse, who was our immigration Minister for five years—a fair bit of experience there. We could tell immediately that the immigration officials were very uncomfortable with the information that we were talking about and the information that was contained in that original file that the Minister had used to make his decision. It became clear very early on that they felt that they had put up a compelling case. They’d reached the threshold not once but twice with the information that they had in that file.

The Minister was left with no choice but to deport—to deport someone that had come to New Zealand on a stolen identity, had arrived here, had travelled several times back to a country that he said he wasn’t safe in, and when he came to New Zealand, he decided that he’d get involved in the drug importation business. He decided that he’d start to deal drugs. He decided that he would associate with Hell’s Angels gang members, that he’d kidnap people, and that he’d stand over people. He had charges back in the Czech Republic for badly assaulting two police officers and a taxi driver.

So when it came time for him to make his residency application, what did he do to his ex-wife? His estranged wife, the wife that is no longer with him—a Kiwi citizen, a young lady that came to this country at 17 years old—

Hon Todd McClay: For a better life.

Hon MARK MITCHELL: Exactly, for a better life. She has become a citizen, has got a very close adopted family around her that, thankfully, have come around and supported her through what’s been the most traumatic time of her life. She realised that, actually, this was a bad guy. She left. She tried to get out of it. He came to her asking for a letter of support, which she declined, and he put so much pressure on her, including a taped telephone conversation where if she didn’t put the content of the letter that he wanted, then she was going to get a visit from people that were going to persuade her to do that. She was going to get a visit from people to persuade her to do that.

When I read that letter myself when I got it—when I read the letter that this Minister of Immigration came to this House and stood here and told all of us that he had reviewed that file and he was going to stand by his decision—I could tell within the first 30 seconds that it was completely contrived. If I was the Minister, the first thing I would’ve done to my officials is said, “Go back and verify this. Go back and speak to the estranged wife, because this looks completely contrived.” Not only was it completely contrived; actually, it was pretty weak. It was very, very weak—which brings us to the next point.

We want to know who the representations were made by. Who made those representations? This is the key. This has got a horrible whiff about it, and every day, as we go on, that whiff just keeps getting strong and stronger. Who made the representations? That’s the real key to the worst decision this country has ever seen made by an immigration Minister. Yeah—you can have that look on your face, Mr Speaker. I defy anyone to show me a worse decision that has been made by an immigration Minister when you take into account public safety and you take into account someone that came to this country on false pretences and then engaged in a life of crime, intimidation, and assaults.[…]


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