Sunday, November 4, 2018

Barry Soper: Karel Sroubek residency case a shambles

The Prime Minister's got a habit of flicking her head away from a questioner who annoys her in the hope of getting a more friendly one. 

This week Jacinda Ardern would have done a break dancer proud, as the head bobbed this way and that, but try as she might she's been unable to deflect the torrent of questions about an issue that clearly has made her very uncomfortable and with good reason.

It was just over a week ago that her opposite number Simon Bridges was in the same position, although his head barely flickers, his vowels simply became even rounder, with the same words flowing from the elastic lips, "I have done absolutely nothing wrong", he'd proclaim as he defended himself from the onslaught from the feral Jami-Lee Ross.

This week the lips have been puckered, as Ross has been largely forgotten, with Bridges now breathing fire with glee on the issue Ardern is praying will go away.

The word "lee" may mean the side sheltered from the wind, but the plural of it is now at the centre of another political storm.

The decision by Ardern's Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway to give a Czech national residency here, when he finishes his jail stretch for drug smuggling, is now something the Beehive would like to bury before the storm of protest buries it.
Karel Sroubek
That decision will be reversed, it's just a question of how they can do it and save Ardern's flicking face.

Given the public backlash that's given her whiplash, this is a decision that should never have been made.

This has been a bizarre case from the start.

Sroubek came here with a false passport and lied to immigration officials which he faced trial for and was convicted by a jury but miraculously was discharged without conviction. He'd successfully convinced the Judge he'd be in danger if he returned to the Czech Republic which is now hard to stack up considering he's been back there without incident.

But the new information that'll see him sent packing is his now ex-wife who's scared of him and is in the process of taking out a restraining order. Lees-Galloway pulled me aside on his way into the debating chamber, having heard I was looking at conflicting statements from his wife, that she initially supported his case to stay in the country but now wants him gone.

She's now likely to get her wish, but it should never have come down to this. This country should never show compassion for a Class A drug smuggler, the lives he's put at risk because of his activities is incalculable.

Barry Soper, the political editor of Newstalk ZB, is one of the country’s most experienced political broadcast journalists and the longest-serving member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bazza great stuff. Also isn't he being deported effectively back to the EU so surely he can move and live elsewhere there, if worried re Czechs, notwithstanding jail also awaiting him in Czech-land.