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McCully and the Auditor General’s report on #sheepgate

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, August 27th, 2016 - 17 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: , ,

Like him or loathe him Matthew Hooton sticks to his guns when his principles are offended. And he has clearly been deeply offended at Murray McCully’s antics around sheepgate.

Hooton was the person who famously said about McCully that he would find a corrupt way to run a sausage sizzle for the local hospice.

McCully’s ingenious method of dealing with a supposed threatened law suit by building a sheep farm in the middle of a desert, flying a number of sheep there and then watching as most of them died attracted the attention of the Auditor General.  An inquiry was announced over a year ago.

As time passes by and the Auditor General’s report about Sheepgate gets closer to being released Hooton is not letting go of the issue. This recent tweet caught me by surprise.


If the tweet is correct then you have to wonder what is happening and how McCully can refuse to meet with the Auditor General and answer questions. The Auditor General has very wide powers including the ability to require statements on oath.

From the empowering legislation:

26 Power to examine on oath
(1) The Auditor-General may, in the course of the exercise or performance of the Auditor-General’s functions, duties, or powers, require a person to give evidence.
(2) The Auditor-General may require the evidence to be given either orally or in writing.
(3) For the purpose of examining a person, the Auditor-General may administer an oath.
(4) Section 108 of the Crimes Act 1961 (which relates to perjury) applies to an examination under this section.

There is an exception for cases involving possible self incrimination. But if a Minister was to say that they do not want to answer questions because it may implicate them in possible criminal offending  you would think that their Ministerial warrant would be removed forthwith.

It appears that McCully is fighting the content of the AG’s report. From Dimpost:

Rumour has it the delay releasing the report has been caused by McCully and MFAT lawyering up and litigating the entire report, line-by-line. On a recent RNZ politics segment Matthew Hooton suggested that this process will involve a negotiation with the Auditor General’s office to include an exculpating sentence in the executive summary that National can seize on as evidence that McCully has been ‘completely cleared’, regardless of the findings of the report, which seems to be how these things are done nowadays.

It has now been a year since the AG started the investigation.  The release must be very close.  Will a Ministerial scalp be the result?

17 comments on “McCully and the Auditor General’s report on #sheepgate ”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    “The Auditor General has very wide powers including the ability to require statements on oath.”

    Which wont ever be happening under this AG. The OAG used to be have sharp teeth and bite when necessary but its become a toothless watchdog, which barely wakens from its slumber.

    • Muttonbird 1.1

      Deliberately so under this government. That’s why we’ll see a slide down the transparency rankings in the years to come.

      National government proponents don’t mind this as long as it keeps Labour on the sidelines. To this end, they’d rather compare us to Somalia than our previous selves when it comes to corruption measures and other indicators of social wellbeing.

  2. Observer Tokoroa 2

    .It must be difficult for our AuditorGeneral to get information from McCully or Key.
    Else, why has her report taken so long?

    . John Key is absolutely a total believer in lying. He has probably trained the weak kneed McCully along the same lines.

    .Is amazing how internally slavish the current government is.! They never ever challenge the sick PM. Scared, I guess.

    The Sheepgate – is presented to us by the Maori Party; by the Act Party; by the United Future Party. The little National Party is admitting that it knows nothing!

    • Wensleydale 2.1

      McCully might come across as a bumbling dolt, but he’s possessed of a weasel-like cunning and a talent for self-preservation. If he was a complete knob-end, he’d not have lasted half as long as he has, particularly within the poisonous quagmire of the National Party. If he goes under, I suspect he’ll drag a few of his fellow travelers with him.

  3. Sirenia 3

    I don’t think McCully is doing any good for Helen Clark’s campaign . He seems to be universally disliked.

    • Keith 3.1

      I recall this corruption was derided by foreign diplomats who wondered how his behaviour had allowed him keep his job. Clearly they hadn’t met our PM!

      I agree though, this sleezy government who amongst other things goes against positive global policies like climate change initiatives and who sets up money laundering tax havens and is utterly indifferent to child poverty must be doing Clark no end of harm.

      NZ is no longer a shining light.

  4. gsays 4

    “Rumour has it the delay releasing the report has been caused by McCully and MFAT lawyering up and litigating the entire report, line-by-line.”

    I am curious about who approves the litigous approach.
    Also if there is a budget constraint or consideration in these matters.

  5. Anne 5

    Well, the inference implied is: the AG has produced a damming report. Damming enough to force Minister McCully to resign. So, he’s fighting tooth and nail, and Key is supporting him because he knows the long term prognosis for the survival of his prime ministerial status is also at risk. Together they will be pulling every dirty trick in the book including barely disguised bully-boy tactics against the AG. If she is strong enough she will resist them, but they will make sure her standing in the community is somehow compromised and she will know it.

    This is the way those neo-libs operate and that level of power.

  6. mary_a 6

    Am I just a cynical old bird, or is anyone else expecting a whitewash to be the result of the AG’s findings here?

    • Leftie 6.1

      Agreed, I think we are all expecting a whitewash of some sort. And nope, you are not a cynical old bird, you’re a realist, it’s the pattern we have all seen time and again under the John key regime.

  7. mosa 7

    My how things have changed in Aotearoa.
    Its only taken eight years too become the status of a banana republic.
    Nixon once said after the Watergate scandal “its not illegal when the President does it” i think John Key firmly believes that otherwise McCully would have been gone a year ago but as usual there is more going on here than the public is aware of and the AG will be under huge pressure to find no wrongdoing in this whole disgusting mess and the PM knows he can get away with anything.
    John Key promised high standards for his ministers if elected in 2008 but he has never enforced these standards because he never had them in the first place.
    My prediction is McCully will be censured but not forced to resign as he is one of those in the inner circle and has a lot of influence in the government and of course the AG will suggest there are lessons too be learnt and process that was not followed, you can almost write the script for these investigations because it always ends the same way under this government.
    The problem with these things is perception and even though this story does not have the shock value of the All Blacks being spied on (heaven forbid) in the news media its just another example of the rotten smell of corruption and dodgy deals that have become the norm in this country by those who dont want their positions threatened and slowly people are waking up too this.
    Accountability and the truth have long scince disappeared from the landscape and its now sadly become normal practice.

  8. whateva next? 8

    As you say,
    “Nixon once said after the Watergate scandal “its not illegal when the President does it”
    But Nixon underestimated the fourth estate.. The Washington Post.
    How would that happen now that the fourth estate is bought?

    • NZJester 8.1

      That is what the right learned from the Watergate scandal, not that they should not do it, but that they should make sure the media will never report it, or at least not without their spin.
      Here in New Zealand, John Keys number 1 fan boy who claims not to be a journalist, currently holds a number of jobs that should be filled by a journalist on prime time TV spots and on radio.

    • mosa 8.2

      Nixon also put his trust in amateurs which meant he got in his famous statement” a third rate burglary” when the plumbers got caught in the Democratic offices.
      But yes without Woods and Bernstein and the infamous deep throat the illegal activity would never have been exposed.
      Key and his government have silenced just about everyone in this country except people with the guts too speak out like Nicky Hagar who faced enormous consequences publishing his book on the dirty politics scandal with Key and his office being involved and implicating Collins and Slater and what does that say about all those National MPs that sit there and dont challenge any of this !
      Hagar of course had too rely on someone on the inside to release the information.
      This has of course prompted the government too come after anyone considering releasing damning information about what the government is involved in and its tactics and cover ups with the threat of a 5 year prison term for any “whisteblower” and thats bad news for any democracy like ours( and i use the term democracy loosely)
      that relys on patriots like Hagar to inform us of the truth.
      The way this country is heading is truthfully is bloody terrifying and the loosers in all of this are the good New Zealand people who deserve a hell of a lot better and i am sure did not vote for this version of John Keys ” brighter future.”

      • Gangnam Style 8.2.1

        “what does that say about all those National MPs that sit there and dont challenge any of this” – Indeed!

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