PM plans to change phone number after controversial Sroubek text

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Friday, 14 December 2018, 7:24AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she may need to change her mobile number after receiving a text from Karel Sroubek supporter, Richie Hardcore commending the decision to grant the drug-smuggler residency. 

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister revealed Ardern had received a text from Karel Sroubek supporter, Richie Hardcore commending the decision to grant the Czech drug-smuggler residency.

The Prime Minister said she never engaged with the text but won't be publicly releasing private communications.

This follows Ardern being accused of misleading parliament over her contact with entrepreneur Derek Handley. She denied it, saying that she did not directly engage with him after Handley released text and email exchanges with Ardern, in September. 

She told Kate Hawkesby she receives unsolicited texts from thousands of people and probably needs to change her mobile number.

"I've had the same number for 10 years so I think it's probably time I did something about that."

"People do [text] me all the time and people email me all the time and I just worry a little bit about precedent there, because members of the public email me, obviously, thinking that they will be doing that with some level of privacy."

"I've given a summary of essentially what it said and it's very innocuous in that regard but it's more the precedent that I'm worried about."

When asked whether there was "anything more to come that might bite you in the bum," Ardern said, "absolutely not".

"I don't even consider that this has because, as I have said throughout this, I knew nothing of this case until it was in the public domain so that means I knew nothing of it during the decision making process."

Speaking with Mike Hosking yesterday, National Party leader Simon Bridges says Ardern hasn't been upfront or honest about the Karel Sroubek residency case.

He said it is time the public got the entire story. 

"We've been going at this now in Parliament for nearly two months, and the impression given by the Prime Minister and Iain Lees-Galloway certainly hasn't been upfront, certainly hasn't been, I would argue by omission it's been dishonest."

"It's a text message from Richie Hardcore to the Prime Minister...acknowledging the decision, well why on earth would he have texted the Prime Minister about this decision? I will give you a couple of reasons, either she knew Sroubek or if she didn't she had been lobbied about this by him hardcore previously."

"Why didn't she say that to parliament, to the public and so on before yesterday?"

Bridges said fact that Lees-Galloway spent less than an hour making the Sroubek makes this whole station worse. 

"Either it was incompetence or it was worse than that and he knew what it was, the decision that he had to make, well I'm finding it much harder to accept the incompetence narrative.

"Richie Hardcore and Jacinda Ardern are good friends, they are not just acquaintances, you can look through and see the pictures, they have known each other for years. I know that Richie Hardcore knows Karel Sroubek well, that's also clear and we understand in the National Party, it's clear Hardcore has made representations on Sroubek's behalf on these matters."

Bridges said this is the Derek Handley situation all over again. 

In September, the Prime Minister was accused of misleading parliament over her contact with the entrepreneur. She denied it, saying that she did not directly engage with him.

"Why didn't she just be upfront about this at the start? It makes us in opposition suspicious."

The National Party is calling for the Prime Minister to make a Ministerial Statement today. 

"What does the text say. What is the Prime Minister's precise associations with Hardcore and Sroubek?" 

Kerre McIvor Mornings

Kerre McIvor Mornings

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