#Sheepgate – but wait there’s more

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, December 4th, 2015 - 28 comments
Categories: farming, national, same old national, Steven Joyce - Tags: ,

McCully sheep in wolfs clothing

As if flying heavily pregnant sheep to a farm situated in the middle of a Saudi desert and paying $4 million dollars to settle a legal dispute that did not exist was not enough. Now the Government is gifting a $2.6 million kit set abattoir to the Saudi sheep farmer.

From Radio New Zealand:

The government is about to spend more than $2.5 million of taxpayers’ money building an abattoir for a disaffected Saudi businessman.

The kit-set abattoir is part of the Government’s $12m attempt to appease him.

A free trade deal with the Gulf states is no nearer.

It has already given the influential businessman, Hamood Al-Ali Al-Khalaf, $4m and has flown 900 pregnant sheep to his farm – nearly all the lambs subsequently died.

Mr Al-Khalaf has opposed New Zealand getting a free trade deal in the region.

The Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said $2.6m will now be spent building Mr Al-Khalaf an abattoir.

The abattoir will be gifted to the Saudi government then installed on the businessman’s farm in the Saudi desert, which the Government said doubles as a New Zealand agri-hub.

However, Mr Joyce said there was still no movement on a free trade deal with the Gulf states.

There is already an Auditor General inquiry into the deal.  Looks like the office will now have more work to do.

And to all the right wing readers out there.  Please justify the spend.  Pouring tens of millions of dollars into a sheep farm in a Saudi desert where most of the sheep die and with no measurable benefit is not the thing a prudent and careful Government does.

As Danyl McLaughlan states the Government is hoping that swinging voters do not care and is relying on the weakened ability of the media to get to the core of these stories as some sort of protection.  In his latest post he says this:

The resignation of Murray McCully over the Saudi sheep deal should have been the biggest political story of the year. Back in 1999 when McCully was found to have acted illegally in his role of Tourism Minister he was forced to resign. This time the allegations were much more serious, but because of the decline in influence of mainstream media outlets, and the fierce competition between them – TV3 and the Herald largely ignored the scandal because it was broken by journalists at rival companies – the Minister simply dropped out of sight until it all blew over.

But the whole episode has certainly upset those of the right who actually believe in free and open markets.  And if rumours of the resumption of live exports by ship are true the Government is going to have another very difficult political issue to deal with.

28 comments on “#Sheepgate – but wait there’s more”

  1. BLiP 1

    National Ltd™ – Working for all nations which fund international terrorism

  2. NZJester 2

    So National is now making the general tax paying public pay for New Zealand meat processing Jobs to be exported over seas?

    What could go wrong with this deal. I mean if something goes Baaaa is woolly and has its sharp teeth in your throat, it is most likely just a harmless sheep right?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      And then the FTA to ensure that NZ workers are in competition with external workers to lower wages even further.

  3. ianmac 3

    a. Joyce must feel safe about the abattoir.
    b. Joyce must feel that it s better to front foot this as opposed to being hunted down by the opposition.
    c. Key has shown that the way forward was to bluster and bluster.
    d. The decision to gift an abattoir was made a year or so ago and now they have no choice but to meet the commitment. (How many people are given an abattoir for xmas?)
    e. They believe that most people don’t really care. Arrogance?

    • shorts 3.1

      I’d go with e) coupled with currently the political media aren’t interested in much more than what wine the PM will send them for christmas and how good their annual press gallery xmas bash will be

    • Pat 3.2

      how about an f.
      f. it is all just a bad dream and we will wake up and realise it isn’t real.

      ..after all it certainly defies belief as does the almost complete lack of public reaction.

      • NZJester 3.2.1

        I think there is public reaction to it. It is just so many are busy with protesting the TPP right now and the media are more interested in covering trivial maters and brown-nosing the PM than to condemn him.

        • Pat

          so public is overwhelmed by the range of threats and don’t know which to react to and therefore doesn’t react?…feel sure theres a psych term for that.

  4. Sabine 4

    so they are openly now fleecing the country and stealing outright from the tax payer.
    i wonder if their internal polls are so bad, that they are not counting on re-election, and have just done away with pretense and now are looting until they leave office.
    How many jobs for the National Party Posse are dependend on them giving away taxpayers funds and treasure?

    oh well, its ok when National does it.

    • RedBaronCV 4.1

      I’ve wondered about the polls too. If they think they aren’t going to be re-elected then I would expect them to be doing everything they want regardless of the electorate. It seems a bit early in the electoral cycle for this level of disregard so is there a possibility of another by-election that we don’t yet know about?

      • Tc 4.1.1

        If key ackshully held his ministers accountable there would be a by election pretty much every other month.

        My bet would be on smiley sam, who is a weak link, taking a fall so nact can look tough when the reality is hes never going to be a high flyer and they can sinecure him a few gigs before next election.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If key ackshully held his ministers accountable there would be a by election pretty much every other month.

          With most of National’s caucus now in jail and probably a few backbenchers as well. Of course, that would probably include Key as well.

  5. greywarshark 5

    The Saudi has become discombobulated because of loss of possible profits. So we must appease him – why? Did he threaten to send an evangelical Wahhabi cult team to our shores? Or perhaps we would prefer a trade team so we could build close national ties with the Saudis like we have with Australia.

    Perhaps that country did not get invited to the international military maneouvres on our shores carried out this year and feel slighted? The New Statesman backgrounds this Islam branch.

    Meanwhile many of us are discombobulated here. But the lolly scramble never seems to be held close to the people who would most enjoy the taste of sweetness from the Nats. It’s all bitter gall for those most disadvantaged by our gummint in NZ

  6. I wonder if these sheep are destined for Haj sacrifice?

    The Saudi government has spent over SR2 billion to build modern automated slaughterhouses with state-of-the-art facilities.

    The Adahi Project, run by the Islamic Development Bank (which was set up by Saudi Arabia) is one of the services offered by Saudi Arabia to “help pilgrims perform their Haj rites in ease and comfort.”

    With the increase in the numbers of pilgrims to the holy sites, the numbers of animals sacrificed has become a health and environmental hazard – not to mention being a tad nasty for the soft hearted to see, hear and smell – so the Adahi Project enables pilgrims to buy a voucher – on line or from authorised outlets – and an animal is slaughtered for them in an approved abattoir. The meat is frozen and then given away to people deemed to be deserving of it.

    The price for an Adahi Project sheep is US$127 this year and the project – which employs 40,000 butchers, vets and Shariah experts – supplied 900,000 head last year. So big business.

    • Macro 6.1

      Yes its very big business and the lack of screaming by the media here is because some of us (mainly sheep farmers and good old boys supporting “you know who”) want a slice of the action.
      So what if it cost us a few mill? Plenty in the public purse for this sort of thing surely? Ok so there are a few thousand kids without homes, who go to school hungry and stuff – but IF we can swing this deal! Well we will all be rich!

    • Stuart Munro 6.2

      Although the Haj is a big issue for Saudi, the location of the farm, in the northeast province near Dammam, makes it less than ideal as a supplier for that event. One would expect a more sensible location from a supplier perspective would be in the fertile south, closer to Jeddah. But that is not where the problematic businessman owns land…

  7. Leftie 7

    “barbaric” is how National’s very close buddies see it.

    <a href="http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1512/S00052/another-26m-for-more-saudi-sheep-barbaric.htm

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      In May, it was exposed that despite the initial claim that the project was about demonstrating Kiwi know-how officials haven’t even negotiated rights of access to the privately owned farm.


      Trying very hard there not to call the government liars despite the fact that they’re lying.

      • Leftie 7.1.1

        “based on the facts which are in the public domain, is that any legal liability is fanciful.”

        Also shows the National government are bold faced liars.

  8. Tautuhi 9

    I am interested in this Government project in Saudi Arabia, if it is highly successful we will no doubt hear all about it, if it is a lemon it will be swept under the carpet.

    Hopefully the Government have sought professional advice on this project rather than taking the Heath Robinson approach.

    • Leftie 9.1

      It’s a lemon, and the National government have been lying their heads off. It’s already been revealed to be nothing more than a disastrous bribe and rort of the taxpayer by the Key National government. Haven’t you been reading the news about it?

  9. Expat 10

    So now the Saudi’s can supply ISIS with fresh lamb donated from NZ as well as arms and funding, good on ya Murray McCully, the last legacy you left NZ is still costing the country billions, you know the one, the leaky home syndrome.

  10. Gael 11

    Good grief. For Sharia law? Nz government supporting sharia sacrifices?.. nz sending live animals by sea to the desert to be slaughtered for religious sacrifice? NZ openly supporting sharia laws by sending free kitset abbatoir?

    Really? Nz will.enable poss trade with daesh ?… maybe the kiwi sheep being sacrificed in kiwi abbatoir in the desert are being paid for ‘online’ by some one in syria?

    Ashamed to be kiwi if so.

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