TODAY |

Text from Richie Hardcore to Jacinda Ardern over Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek released

The text message from Richie Hardcore to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over the Karel Sroubek decision has been released under the Official Information Act.

Sroubek, a Czech national, is a convicted drug smuggler - currently serving jail time here, who while facing deportation was granted residency to stay in New Zealand.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway subsequently over-rode the decision after an Immigration New Zealand investigation, finding Sroubek liable for deportation once he's released from prison. 

On October 30 Mr Hardcore wrote to Ms Ardern via text message: "Myself and my friends and community wanted to pass on their respects and praise for the decision about Jan Antolik, Karoul Sroubek, he's made a bunch of really bad choices but he's a good guy deep down, so thank you to Ian [Immigration Minsiter Iain Lees-Galloway] and yourself for giving him another chance."

Last year, Ms Ardern had been questioned by the Opposition about the content of the message.

Jacinda Ardern confirmed she did receive a text from Mr Hardcore following the initial decision to keep Karel Sroubek in New Zealand. That decision was later changed and Mr Sroubek is now liable for deportation after a review by Immigration NZ.

Ms Ardern said she knows Mr Hardcore through a range of his "functions and roles" and that this was the only communication she had with him on Mr Sroubek.

There were no conversations on the matter as it would be inappropriate, she said at the time. 

Background

Immigration New Zealand launched an investigation on November 1, 2018 into the residency application of Karel Sroubek.

Mr Lees-Galloway told media at the time he received new information that contradicted that which he used to make his decision to grant residency to Sroubek.

On November 28, Sroubek was found to be liable for deportation after a review by Immigration NZ.

Mr Lees-Galloway announced the findings, saying "as a result of that review, Immigration determined that Mr Sroubek may be liable for deportation on grounds that I had not previously considered".

He said there was some information INZ compiled that was not available to him when he made his original decision.

The tense conversation was over a character reference letter.
Karel Sroubek. Source: 1 NEWS