Dirty Deeds done with Sheep gets dirtier

Murray McCully’s dirty deeds done with sheep is getting dirtier.

The Green party is showing Labour how to run a good sting on a minister by drip feeding information.

Saudi businessmen who had been thwarted from exporting live sheep for slaughter to the Middle East had wanted to sue the Government for $20 to $30 million compensation, according to just released Cabinet papers.

But instead of being a “party to such discussions” the Government decided to spend at least $11.5 million on a Saudi agribusiness hub.

Until now the Government has said $7.5m had been recommended to spend, including $6m to establish an agribusiness hub and $1.5m on flying 900 awassi sheep for breeding to the Saudi farm of businessman Hmood Al Khalaf.

However according to a Cabinet paper released under the Official Information Act to Fairfax Media, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Murray McCully recommended in February 2013 that a further $4m be spent on a “food security platform”.

McCully said that “Saudi parties” had wanted to seek compensation of between $20m and $30m from the Government because they could no longer export live sheep for slaughter from New Zealand to the Middle East.

But the opposing groups had negotiated the figure of $4m “which recognises the intellectual property which the Saudi investor brings to the platform, the services and in-market networks he will contribute, as well as the settlement of the long running dispute”.

An MFAT spokeswoman said to date $2.89m of the $6m for the agribusiness hub had been spent.  She said it was estimated that the Saudi partner, the Al Khalaf Group, had contributed around $80 million in land, labour, and finance towards the project.

That is pretty expensive sand at $80 million. It is starting to get whiffy:

New information shows the Government did a second dubious deal with a disgruntled Saudi businessman who was blocking progress on the Gulf States Free Trade Agreement (FTA), says the Green Party today.

A Cabinet paper released today reveals the Government spent additional $4 million purchasing genetic development, logistical, supply chain and market connections from the Saudi businessman’s farm after he was annoyed about New Zealand stopping live sheep export for slaughter.

“It would seem taxpayers’ money was used to in a very questionable manner. It appears the Government is trying to buy off this businessman to get a deal,” said Green Party trade spokesperson James Shaw.

“Previous governments resisted caving into the demands of a foreign government and John Key should have resisted the temptation to buy international diplomacy.

“The National Government paid an over $4 million dollars, on top of the $7.5 million for the farm in the middle of the desert, to buy out the Saudi businessman’s interests in New Zealand; if that is not a dodgy deal, I don’t know what is.

“The Cabinet paper makes it very clear the Saudis wanted the businessman placated before they went further on the FTA. It was unethical of the Government to cave into pressure.

“New Zealanders don’t want us to bend and break rules, and pay off rich businessman to push through an unethical trade deal.

It is starting to look like this deal has gone off and is stinking like a side of rancid mutton.

It appears that McCully’s dirty deeds done with sheep were done without any sort of protection.

 

– Fairfax, Yahoo


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