Coalition unravelling?

10/10/2019

Barry soper thinks the coalition cardigan is beginning to look a bit threadbare:

Governments, since coalitions were forced on us 23 years ago, are a bit like – and just as scary as – the Fair Isle cardigan mum used to knit for you to keep you snuggly during winter.

Catch a thread on a barbed wire fence though and they begin to unravel – and with the current Beehive crop their red, black-and-white and green cardie is starting to look motley. . . 

He takes a look at the last two weeks: Shane Jones doing his vote seeking rant then doubling down with threats of utu against those who complained; that was followed by leaks from New Zealand First disgruntled members.

Then came the dropping of the electric vehicle target and next:

But the red yarn simply wouldn’t knit with the green when it came to Labour ministers rightly giving the Greens’ Eugenie Sage the bird when it came to her rejection of a company buying land to extend its gold-mining operation in Waihi. . . .

This coalition cardigan’s now beginning to look a little threadbare.

That was before yesterday’s report on Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway’s handling of  Czech drug-smuggler Karel Sroubek’s residency case:

The Heron review found that the INZ processes were adequate but could be improved.

It said that Ministers applying absolute discretion may have limited time and did not usually receive free and frank advice on deportation cases – though Ministers were also free to take more time and seek further information.

“It is obvious to state that a process which allows a Minister to make a quick decision on a complex case with as little as an oral briefing and no advice is fraught with risk,” the review said.

The risk could be mitigated if more decision-making was delegated to experienced experts, which would keep the Minister “above the fray”. . . 

Except that there is no requirement for a Minister to make a quick decision and Minister’s are paid to make careful, reasoned decisions.

Heron said it was also risky for the Minister to make a decision “without receiving any advice or recommendations and without any verification of the reliability of the information”.

“This process puts both the Minister and INZ at risk. Whilst Sroubek is an unusual case, it does provide an example of the manifestation of that risk.

“The grounds contained in the case file summary were understood by most to be sufficiently powerful such that the original decision of the Minister was unexpected.” . . 

Unexpected is bureaucratise for wrong.

If the case file summary made a sufficiently powerful case it’s the minister who’s at fault, not officials and not the system.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she still had confidence in Lees-Galloway.

“These are complex cases and I think the Heron report rightly suggests the whole process needs to change, because both Immigration New Zealand and Ministers were carrying too much risk.”

Ministers are paid to carry risk.

That she maintains confidence in him reflects very poorly on both her judgement and leadership.

This ought to have been a sacking offence but with the coalition cardigan looking so threadbare she can’t afford any more dropped stitches, or dropped ministers.


Lees-Galloway changes mind

28/11/2018

Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway has changed his mind about Karel Sroubek:

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has reversed his decision to grant conviction drug smuggler Karel Sroubek residency.

An Immigration New Zealand (INZ) probe into the drug smuggler found he was liable for deportation on grounds not previously considered. These included Czech convictions under his real name.

“He is being removed because he never had a visa in the first place.”

Lees-Galloway said public trust and confidence had been damaged and he took responsibility for it and for fixing it. He apologised to the prime minister but did not offer his resignation. . . 

The Minister is responsible for the damage to public trust and confidence in both the system and him.

How on earth he could have given residency to anyone who had been convicted of crimes when so many worthy, law abiding would-be residents are turned down defies logic.

 


Incompetent or ?

09/11/2018

A decision to deport a convicted criminal could be made in a very few minutes.

A decision to give residency to one needs a lot more time than it got:

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway made the decision to grant Karel Sroubek residency in less than an hour.

The revelation has led to calls from the Opposition for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to sack her Immigration Minister.

Lees-Galloway said he did not read the full file on the Czech drug smuggler, and instead “read the aspects of the file that I thought were necessary to make the decision that I made”. . .

How can you know what you need to read to make a decision if you don’t read all the information you have?

“I took the information that I had and I took the time that I felt was necessary. I read various aspects of the full file. I didn’t rely solely on the summary.” . . 

Various aspects? That’s not the full file and it defies belief that he could have read even some of the information that has made this decision so inexplicable and granted residency.

National Leader Simon Bridges has renewed his call for the Prime Minister to sack Lees-Galloway over the “careless decision” after Lees-Galloway claimed he carefully considered all the relevant information.

He allowed a drug dealing gang associate to remain in New Zealand without reading all the information available to him, Bridges said.

“Either Lees-Galloway has misled the Prime Minister or she’s misled New Zealanders.

“The Prime Minister has defended that decision for the past two weeks, telling New Zealanders it was a ‘difficult decision’ but that she had been assured by Lees-Galloway he had given it ‘careful consideration’.

“We now know he hadn’t.”

An hour was not careful consideration of what was a dangerous decision and it was not acceptable due diligence from a senior Cabinet Minister, he said.

“Lees-Galloway’s credibility is now shot. The Prime Minister cannot expect the public to have confidence in any of his decisions given his careless approach to Sroubek’s residency.

“The Prime Minister now has no choice but to sack Lees-Galloway from Cabinet immediately.”

Woodhouse said Lees-Galloway had arrogantly refused to reveal the evidence upon which he made his decision, saying it was not in the public interest.

“He insisted it was a complicated decision not taken lightly.

“The Prime Minister even went as far as saying Lees-Galloway ‘shared with me the careful consideration that he gave this case… it was clearly a very difficult decision’. Only clearly it wasn’t,” Woodhouse said.

The evidence was now overwhelming that Lees-Galloway didn’t do his job, he said.

“It is now clear he made that call without asking questions and without proper consideration of the facts or the track record of the convicted criminal he was allowing to stay. Sroubek needs to go and Lees-Galloway does too.” . . 

To have read all the relevant information and made that decision indicates gross incompetence or something conspiracy theorists would delight in.


People we want

31/10/2018

They came to New Zealand in their early 20s.

She was on a student visa, they had a daughter while they were here then had to leave when their visa ran out in spite of several attempts to stay.

They returned he gained a visa to work on a dairy farm, bringing their young kiwi daughter and a son born overseas with them.

Each time they could they applied for residency but were turned down although his work visa continued to be renewed.

FInally last year, after a change of rules by National, they were granted residency.

By this time they’d lived here for 12 years, both had worked hard and their children had gone through school and on to university.

They are good people who have contributed and will continue to contribute positively to New Zealand.

The second couple are professionals who had worked in several countries, gained business visas and invested a lot of money in a high-end tourism business.

Both joined community organisations and one, used his many skills to do a lot of work marketing New Zealand overseas.

They nearly lost their investment and their home when their application for residency was turned down.

After a lot of stress and a lot of work, they gained residency.

They continue to run a successful business, play an active role in local organisations and promote New Zealand internaitonally.

These are good people who will more than repay New Zealand through the positive contribution they make to the community and economy.

Both of these couples are the sort of people New Zealand needs and are only two of many who would make wonderful citizens but can’t get residency.

Why do people like this have to struggle so hard to stay here when   a convicted criminal has ministerial dispensation to stay?

. . .Jan Antolik, whose real name is Karel Sroubek, was jailed for five years for importing nearly 5kg of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, with a street value of $375,000.

Mr Lees-Galloway said the decision to grant residency was made after careful consideration of all the information available at the time and that the man’s stay in the country was subject to significant conditions.

He said he can’t discuss the reasons he granted him residency for privacy and legal reasons.

But he has released a letter he wrote to Mr Sroubek, outlining the conditions he must abide by in order to stay in New Zealand.

They include not reoffending, not using a fraudulent identity or misleading a government agency within the next five years.

The letter also noted Mr Sroubek had been given a residency visa previously, but that was under a false identity.

Mr Lees-Galloway says he made the decision in light of the “full view of information” presented to him, and was not made lightly. . . 

David Farrar give his full background and the parole board’s reasons for declining his application for early release.

If he was being returned to a country without the rule of law it would be easier to understand the decision.

But the Czech Republic is in the EU and if he’s unsafe there he could go to any other EU country.

This decision is a slap in the face to the many deserving would-be residents who are turned down and poses a potential risk to us all.


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