Saudi sheepgate coverup continues

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, August 12th, 2016 - 41 comments
Categories: accountability, International, john key - Tags: , , ,

Last month an opinion piece in the NBR (paywalled) summed up the “sheepgate” scandal – Govt sheepgate story a shameful coverup.

A minister who tells the prime minister and the cabinet they face a $30 million legal risk when they do not, to secure $11.5 million for an out-of-court settlement that is not needed and in any case has never been recorded in writing, should obviously be sacked.

For Mr Key to allow Mr McCully to continue as foreign minister, just because he fears the consequences of sacking him, brings disgrace on the government and New Zealand and suggests Mr Key is now impotent as prime minister over even the worst behaviour by his senior ministers.

The big question here is what was the $11.5 million payment for? There never was a Saudi threat of legal action, see – Treasury officials contradict Key’s claims

But because both Key and McCully justified the payment to Al Khalaf on the basis of avoiding a legal settlement, the Treasury denial coming on top of Mr Assaf’s statements raise more questions about just what the money paid to Mr Al Khalaf was actually for.

The Nats don’t want the truth to come out. Yesterday – Government withholds letter from Saudi sheikh

The Government is refusing to make public a letter to Prime Minister John Key from the Saudi sheikh at the centre of a controversial farm deal.

The Government has been under pressure for months to explain why it spent more than $11 million setting up a farm in the Saudi Arabian desert in a deal with Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf.

Al Khalaf was irritated by a 2007 ban on the export of live animals for slaughter. National blames Labour and says it struck the deal – which included a $4m payment to Al Khalaf – to prevent legal action from him.

However, National reconfirmed the ban in 2010 – and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing note appears to suggest this was why Saudi investors were furious.

The documents also reveal the Office of the Auditor General questioned the legality of the farm proposal, and Treasury officials repeatedly voiced opposition.

What was the payment for, why did the Nats go ahead with it against all advice, and why won’t they release the letter?

41 comments on “Saudi sheepgate coverup continues”

  1. Richardrawshark 1

    make an embezzlement accusation to the police then they will have to act on it.

    Got all the signs of theft.

  2. Righty right 2

    Everyone knows these kind payment have to be made the world is corrupt and we need to play the game

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      No, we don’t have to make them and if they’re demanded then we simply stop dealing with that country.

      • mosa 2.1.1

        Draco that requires a backbone that this government simply does not have.
        Anyway Key always has a smirk on his face because he knows he is untouchable and the fact thay this Saudi Sheep deception has gone on so long without a resignation and the media arent interested they will just ride it out.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          I don’t think any of our governments have had a backbone since the 4th Labour government told the US to effoff and even that was only on a limited basis. Our recent governments have all been terrified about what the US/UK/Europe and China might do to us if we upset them.

          They have to learn that we’re not here to please other nations but to do what’s morally right for our nation and, after that, other nations.

    • shorts 2.2

      only an idiot makes a payment for nothing… and only an idiot pays someone who can’t or won’t help them i.e. what has our bribe achieved?

      Only an idiot thinks this entire affair is the price of doing business or in your case play some game

    • D'Esterre 2.3

      Righty right: “Everyone knows these kind payment have to be made the world is corrupt and we need to play the game”

      Look, I understand that you might be a supporter of the current government, but really? Is the price of your support the condoning of corruption? Surely not.

      This may be a small polity, unduly exposed to the potential perfidy of those much larger, but it by no means follows that we should connive at that kind of behaviour. We cannot win that sort of pissing contest. We need to stay away from it.

    • Stuart Munro 2.4

      if you’re going to bribe someone in Saudi, here’s a tip – you don’t choose a self-selected bribe recipient. You must choose someone with the authority to do what you need. The Saudi state is not as keen on bribery as you might suppose either, they know it costs them credibility.

  3. Adrian 3

    How about it was a refund of a bit of election funding to a particular party?

  4. Michelle 4

    We have a bunch of bloody crooks running our country

    • mosa 4.1

      Well DUH !!
      And after the next general election the same idiots we pass by as we are walking and driving and we work with and the owners of the business we spend our money with will vote for it all over again.

  5. TC 5

    Shows Key as the salesman he is. Not in control and almost certainly not making the decisions on who does what.

    Mccully, collins, english and others with major breaches of ethics and rules showing the farce that is ‘higher standards’.

    • Bearded Git 5.1

      …add ethics-lacking Amy Adams and her “pragmatic” Bain solution.

      Hooton* was right about this; the legal system is not about pragmatic solutions where the government hasn’t got the cahones to make a decision, it is about justice.

      *when he takes off his ridiculously biased Labour/Green-bashing hat Hooton can be right. He has also criticised the government royally on the Saudi sheep deal fiasco.

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    To all opposition MPs:

    Follow “Psych nurse’s” advise:

    “Key always dominates Question time with his arrogance, glibness and confabulation. He makes the headlines with his performance, no one questions his truthfulness. . . . . Direct questions to those less able to deflect them.” (See Left Side Story, 2.0)

    Opposition MPs: Direct Sheepgate questions to McCully. Frame them so he is the only person who can answer them.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      …and stop wasting our time asking loaded questions.

    • Cinny 6.2

      Awesome advice from ‘Psych Nurse” however, there will be no questions for McCully next week, he is going overseas for a little business trip, once again very timely travel.

  7. Corokia 7

    Why can’t/won’t Key sack McCully?
    How is McCully getting away with this?

    • D'Esterre 7.1

      Corolla: “How is McCully getting away with this?”

      He’s a longtime Nat apparatchik: he knows where the bodies are buried. Clearly the PM thinks the risks to the party and government of making him walk the plank are many times greater than keeping him on.

    • TC 7.2

      watch the hollowmen. Muz is a major player so he enjoys the priviledges that go with it…..immunity.

    • Stuart Munro 7.3

      Because Key is even dirtier than McCully – any censure will be for public consumption only.

  8. nom 8

    Wasn’t there talk that Key and Carter had privately promised that the incoming National government would resume live stock exports?

    • nom 8.1

      Sheepgate

      Looks like it was a claim made by Hooton in the NBR,

    • Wyndham 8.2

      That’s exactly right nom and the real reason for anger from Mr. Khalif when the Nats back tracked. Key keeps blaming Labour ( specifically Phil Goff ) but it was National that rattled the cage. Key is a master of obfuscation and deceit. He and McCully deserve each other.

      • Leftie 8.2.1

        +1 Nom and Wyndham. And they might deserve each other, but NZ doesn’t, let’s sack these corrupt dirty crooks next year.

  9. The reinstatement of Collins already suggested Key was impotent as a Prime Minister, we don’t need keeping McCully to conclude that.

    The whole thing stinks of the government engaging in corruption, and the whole lot ought to go.

  10. Cinny 10

    McCully would rather do another runner than answer anymore awkward questions.
    Easier to skip off on a little overseas junket before retiring from Parliament, wonder how many more trips away he will have?

    “Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to Europe next week to visit the United Kingdom, Slovakia, France, Hungary, and Russia. ”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1608/S00231/minister-mccully-to-visit-europe.htm

  11. weston 11

    Im just bloody pleased that live shipments of nzs sheep HAVE been stopped its pretty damn hard to respect this particular bunch of mutton eaters both in the way they kill their animals and their citizens .weve all seen the clips of their so called men of god beheading woman its disgusting fuck them let them buy their sheep from the americans who are right up their arse anyway .

    • Cinny 11.1

      Well said Weston, def agree. Isn’t bizzare how we trade with countries whose ways of life would be social immoral and often illegal here. I don’t get that… was so proud of us for boycotting countries in the past due to their questionable activities. Sadly greed seems to drive our current government and the old boys club lap up the slightest ego trip, evolution is far from their grasp.

    • Leftie 11.2

      For me that’s one of the best comments on this thread. Couldn’t agree with you more Weston!!

    • mosa 11.3

      Weston i am glad you raised the animal and human welfare issues in all of this.
      Saudi Arabia is allowed too get away with this barbaric approach to life they have no respect for it and that should automatically bar them from trading with any nation including ours !!!
      Live sheep export seems a contradiction in terms considering the death toll inflicted on these poor creatures.

  12. save nz 12

    Shocking – the Natz are corrupt crooks. And why do the media do not hold them to account? Too many parties in the corrupt trough.

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      save nz

      “Why do the media do not hold the Natz to account?”

      Because the business of selling advertisements requires you have access to the king and his court. Is the correct name for this a “cluster f#ck”?

    • mosa 12.2

      Save they do not hold them too account because
      1 The media is owned and controlled by corporate interests and only demand answers from left wing parties that you would think the way they are treated THEY were in government.
      2 Key has a enemies list he bragged about some years back and on that occasion i do believe he was telling the truth and that list will have journalists and their indiscretions on it amongst others that out of fear they will tow the line.
      Big Business wields a huge amount of power and fear and influence in NZ and they have a personal relationship with the National party and members of the government.
      To remove this administration it will take a massive effort and by exceptional people who are smart and well funded.
      The next election may be already won by this government.

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