Right at the end of her rather long column revisiting the history of the Saudi Sheep deal, Fran O’Sullivan gets to the nub of the issues.
I earlier wrote that the documents the foreign minister took to Cabinet relating to the partnership with the Al-Khalaf Group “did not shed sufficient light on why McCully spearheaded an initiative which at its kindest interpretation resulted in a sweetheart deal to look after Saudi businessman Hamood Al-Ali Al-Khalaf. Nor did the documents – which are very carefully constructed – pass the smell test for a Government that has become rather too easy a prey for commercial shakedowns by aggrieved foreign investors.” This remains my view.
Groser and McCully were played. They would have known that. But they did not want to disaggregate the diplomatic and commercial issues because it would have forced them to front on the sensitive issue around Key’s actions. Instead the two issues were conflated.
As for the Al-Khalaf group: Under the partnership, pregnant breeding ewes from New Zealand were flown to a “farm” in the desert which was so inhospitable that 75 per cent of the lambs died.
Yet this was hailed as a success.
The free trade deal is said to be on track again following the successful visit by the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia last year; subsequent bilateral meetings at major levels of the Saudi Arabian Government and the establishment of a Saudi Arabia-NZ Business Council.
This explains the rather perplexing situation of John Key hugging the rancid mutton-smelling corpse of Murray McCully. John Key annoyed the Saudis and McCully tried to paper over it with a dodgy deal. Then McCully prepared papers for cabinet that were extremely economical with the truth.
As I have said previously, other ministers have been sacked for less. Maurice Williamson for a single phone call.
What does Murray McCully have to do to get sacked? Die?
– NZ Herald