David Carter had had his say and the baby face, whipper snapper official, in his mid twenties, put in his bob’s worth telling the Saudi how unpalatable resuming the trade would be in New Zealand. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the Saudi felt he’d been lectured to by someone who certainly should have been seen and not heard.
Of course the Saudis were already out of sorts after one of their rich businessmen, with direct links to the King, had poured money into the trade that had been halted.
As the free trade deal with the region began slipping off the slaughter board, Muzza McCully came up with what he hoped would be a solution, a facilitation payment of four million bucks to the businessman, which some say was a bribe, and with a Kiwi taxpayer equipped and stocked farm in the desert as a model to showcase our agriculture that few, if any, are likely to be allowed to visit.
The Nats say this debacle is all Labour’s fault anyway, and Cabinet papers from the Clark Government are in the mail and will prove their point.
They blocked their release in Parliament last week by Labour which says it has nothing to hide but the posties appear to be on a go slow.
Are we really meant to believe that the country’s current problems with Saudi Arabia are because a young “official” spoke at a meeting 7 years ago and spoke about local views on the export of live sheep?
Besides negotiation of the Gulf Free Trade Agreement was concluded in 2009. MFAT’s site says that “[o]fficials must now complete the legal verification process before the FTA can be put before Ministers for signature”.
Another interesting development is the announcement of the export of 50,000 sheep to Mexico for breeding purposes. The sheep are to be transported on the livestock carrier Nada. Animal activists are up in arms as there is “huge potential for the animals to seriously suffer in the stressful, terrifying weeks-long ocean journey”. And the number being exported is staggering.
Saudi Arabia meanwhile must be looking on and wondering why live exports to Mexico are permitted but not to Saudi Arabia.
And those cabinet papers still have not appeared.
This Government may have blown $11.5 million and achieved exactly nothing. The Auditor General really needs to have a look at this.