#Sheepgate – it was the official’s fault

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, June 11th, 2015 - 47 comments
Categories: farming, john key, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national, slippery - Tags: , ,

flock of sheep

National would have us believe that our Government paid over $11.5 million to a Saudi sheep farmer in the hope and expectation that he would not sue us for $30 million based on a cause of action that has still not been identified.  The more likely scenario is that this was payola to get the Saudi Government to complete a free trade agreement with New Zealand.  The only problem is that there is no sign of one being completed.

National tried desperately to blame Labour.  Key and McCully both suggested that the fifth Labour Government created the legal problems and all National was doing was fixing things up.  Key even suggested that there were cabinet papers in existence which confirmed Labour’s guilt.  The effect of this was dented when National refused leave to Labour to table the papers in Parliament.  And despite promises that release of the cabinet papers would be expedited they still have not seen the light of day.

The counter propaganda is being rolled out.  Leaks have been made to that subversive left wing media outlet Newstalk ZB which essentially exonerate Labour but lay the groundwork for another defence.

This was posted yesterday:

A young official who spoke “out of turn” brought down a potential free trade agreement between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, Newstalk ZB understands.

The Saudis had already expressed some displeasure at the National government continuing the export ban of live sheep to the Gulf state put in place by Labour in 2003.

The young official was travelling with then-Agriculture Minister David Carter during a meeting with his Saudi Arabian counterpart in Rome in 2009.

Carter told the minister that sheep exports wouldn’t be continued.

It was at that point in the meeting, Newstalk ZB understands, the official “lectured” the Saudi minister on how New Zealanders would find it unpalatable it would be to return to live sheep exports.

The Stanford-educated Saudi considered the official to be speaking out of turn and the trade deal was off.

Get that?  It was not Labour, nor National’s refusal to lift the ban on the export of sheep for slaughter, but some ill chosen words from a junior “official” that caused the problems.  I wonder what rank the official had and whose office he was associated with.

Barry Soper chipped in:

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.

 

47 comments on “#Sheepgate – it was the official’s fault”

  1. mary_a 1

    Why hasn’t Labour released the “cabinet papers” to msm? Or has NatzKEY put a stop on releasing them altogether?

    I thought some msm journalists had put in OIA requests for the documents. That was some time ago. So where are they and as this issue is of public interest, why the delays?

    NatzKEY attempting a cover up yet again I suspect, caught up in another tangled web of corruption, lies and deceit it seems with this one!

  2. mac1 2

    Are we seeing a new responsibility-avoiding device, to blame the officials? Reading this story reminded me of a comment I made in response to Paula Bennett IIRC when she basically blamed the implementation of a policy and not the policy itself, that is, the workers and not the policy-making Ministers at whose desk the buck stops.

    My comment was. “Yeah, that’s right, blame the workers.”

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.1

      Are we seeing a new responsibility-avoiding device, to blame the officials?

      Well, that’s going to go down well in the civil service.

    • emergency mike 2.2

      “Are we seeing a new responsibility-avoiding device, to blame the officials?”

      New? Throw a lower level official under the bus and move on has been standard operating procedure for higher level fuck ups since forever.

      • mac1 2.2.1

        No earthquakes, global financial crises or ‘nine long years of Labour’ to blame now. Can’t pin this one on ISIS, the unions or the Chinese. So, right, back to the erks who work for us. Or, the ‘office’.

  3. dukeofurl 3

    Well , we can see the problem could have been sorted all along.

    Just call them breeding stock and the export paper work is all done and dusted.

    “50,000 sheep and 3000 cattle – was being loaded onto livestock carrier Nada in Timaru this afternoon.”

    The interesting bit about why the live sheep trade began in the first place , was that ewes at the end of their useful life, were taken to the works but got such low prices Mutton) that often the farmer was paying to have them killed. The good prices were obtained for lambs only.
    Along came live sheep exports, mostly for older ewes, so finally farmers could make some money out of the ewes.

    Wont take much effort to find out this ship, Nada when it arrives in Mexico, is going to offload the old ewes fairly quickly to an abattoir close to the port.

    There are maritime ship tracking websites that enable armchair warriors to see where and when it arrives:
    http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:462761/mmsi:372415000/vessel:NADA

  4. Tom Gould 4

    Burnt out and terminally entitled Tory Soper covers up for them yet again. All too easy when your mates and paid lackeys are spinning the news for you, live on the TV and radio.

  5. tracey 5

    Well, Michele Boag also blamed the young folk for a lot of stuff on Sunday, so perhaps she is back on the Nats PR payroll?

  6. M Scott 6

    50,000 old ewes for breeding? No, don’t think so. Maybe they are being trans-shipped to Saudi Arabia?

    Anyway, we should not be doing trade or having any diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, a criminal state when it comes to all human rights and Fifa style corruption. We should be banning all contact, as per apartheid South Africa. But South Africa doesn’t have oil, guess that’s the diff.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      FIFA style corruption? Saudi Arabia funds militant armies which can take down whole countries. FIFA is small scope compared to the Saudi vision.

      • tracey 6.1.1

        I see FIFA isn’t voting a new president til December. Giving people time to buy the new President?

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1

          Interesting isn’t it. Mechanations in progress to strip Russia of the World Cup in 2018. They say that they will pull the World Cup off Russia if any evidence of bribes are found (which would be par for the course for the last x no. of World Cups). Evidence to be found in 4…3…2…1…

          I think Qatar will get to keep their World Cup hosting as they are top mates with the USA, hosting one of the largest US military bases in the ME.

  7. NZJester 7

    The cabinet papers will eventually come out. But not till they can slip them out semi-unnoticed while some other big story is going on so that no one in the MSN will be to interested in them anymore and ignore Labour pointing to the fact they show what a big lie Nationals line was.

    • emergency mike 7.1

      Yep, delay as long as possible until the story loses momentum, something else comes along, and people forget what it was all about in the first place.

  8. esoteric pineapples 8

    It’s always someone further down the chain of command who gets the blame for this government’s screw ups. It’s pathetic but also extremely immoral because innocent people are being done over by the guilty.

  9. dukeofurl 9

    Funny that the ship NADA has stopped being updated on marine tracking websites.

    Must be GCSB doing their bit for the ‘economic good of the country’

    • TonyT 9.1

      yes I was having a look and couldn’t find it either, was told the crew on board could turn of the AIS tracking if they wanted. But voila, suddenly it reappeared on the map, it’s near tahiti and looks indeed to be right on course for Mexico after all. But why no records at the POrt of Timaru? Marine traffic still shows the last port of call as being in China, 3 weeks ago. Hmmmmm… Guess the saudi guy owns the farms in Mexico too, given that
      the same saudi guy (who got the bribe from McCully) is the owner of the land the Nada sheep were kept on in Rangitata, before being loaded, suggesting that he is in fact the owner and exporter/importer of the 50,000 on board the NADA.

  10. b waghorn 10

    On my fb I follow a page called farming nz and the latest feed is a picture of a letter written to Nathan Guy and this letter claims that the sheep in question are Merino weathers (castrated rams)
    Off topic a bit I know but guy may have gone on TV and lied to the nation if the letter is telling the truth.

    • dv 10.1

      HA
      The Mexicans have been scammed ?

      Maybe Guy doesn’t know the difference between weathers and breeding ewes.

      • b waghorn 10.1.1

        More like bullshit at this end if its true. and the stock are on there way to slaughter in mexico or maybe even Saudi

  11. Dont worry. Be happy 11

    If the sheep going to Mexico are whethers then this shipment is for slaughter. Our Parliament banned that practice.

    If the sheep going to Mexico suffer the same way thousands of other sheep have suffered in tight crates, breathing in crap, unable to tolerate the change in diet, movement of the ship, increasing heat…..and why would they not be suffering….right now and over the next three weeks? This shameful trade is well documented…..then this too is against NZ law.

    The farmers, stock firms, etc making money from this crime can have it all taken under the Proceeds of Crime Act, something to think about while in the dock for cruelty on an industrial level, wuile serrving time for animal cruelty, premeditated and motivated by profits.

    Call the cops. This is a crime.

    • David H 11.1

      “Call the Cops this is a Crime”

      But the real criminals, and the shady characters in the shadows, are the ones that are never arrested. Due to lack of evidence etc etc. But even Blind Pugh could find this lot guilty.

  12. Tautoko Mangō Mata 12

    JK has released the cabinet.papers. https://twitter.com/HDPA

  13. OMBE 13

    Hey Mickey, well called re propoganda re the young mfat official. That came AFTER the investment into NZ, and after the “encouragement” given under the labour govt.
    In 2009, “substantive agreement” was reached, and announced here in NZ. The following process of translation and conclusion was expect to be don in teh following 6 months. Interestingly there were no Saudi representative at that round of negotiations as part of the GCC team. In hindsight that was a bad omen of things to come. Once NZ was bought close to achieving the FTA, and could smell the success, Hamood spung his trap. At this time, and well before the ill-fated trade delegation the following year, strong rumours about the upcoming “live sheep/being lied to by the Clark Govt issue” was were well known. The Nats had to scramble to try and get this resolved……hence the agri-hub solution.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      You’re awfully well-informed about the latest pack of lies and bullshit from the government. Are you some sort of lackey?

      • OMBE 13.1.1

        no. are you ?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1.1

          No.

          So, if you aren’t some sort of Tory shill, why are you parrotting Tory lies?

          • OMBE 13.1.1.1.1

            Not sure what tory lies you suspect or mean. But I am not parrotting anything other than my own knowledge of what I saw and witnessed during the time of this saga. Just because you dont like or agree with my view, that doesnt make my view/experience a lie or a tory lie.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1.1.1.1

              “live sheep/being lied to by the Clark Govt issue”

              I don’t believe this story. Let’s just imagine it’s true though, and you “saw and witnessed” a meeting where Murray McCully decided that telling lies about Labour was the best way to get himself off the hook for bribery.

              How did he phrase it?

    • mickysavage 13.2

      I am sure some geopolitical politics may have occurred and there may be an expectation that the deal will be sweetened. But for National to blame the fifth Labour Government for the negotiating process is silly.

      Let them stand up and say that they have to do this to get the free trade deal and let New Zealanders then judge them on this. But trying to transfer the blame on Labour …

      • OMBE 13.2.1

        Agree – silly to blame labour govt….actually detracts from the real issues over the deal. If they did just stand up as you suggest, I am sure they would be asked as to what caused the “issue” that needed to be resolved. It happens to be both true and convienant to blame Clark & Goff, however, that blame could be and should be carried by others as well, but no-one is asking the right questions, and everyone has been well distracted. Great PR smokescreen…..remind me what was McCully’s past profession ????

        • mickysavage 13.2.1.1

          Why is Goff to blame?

          • OMBE 13.2.1.1.1

            Minister of Foreign Affairs 1999 – 2005.
            Have you asked Phil about this by any chance ? Am Sure you know him well enough to ask, but am not sure he trusts you to tell you the truth.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2.1.1.2

            He’s to blame because personal responsibility means that when you offer a bribe you do your best to pretend it was somebody else’s fault.

  14. Pascals bookie 14

    Be pretty funny if some Saud had his people scope out this John Key fellah, and this national party, to see if they were the type to do business with and found themselves taking a squizz at that blog chock to the brim with anti-Islamic hatred on most days, eh.

  15. mickysavage 15

    And?

  16. I don’t think “official” is the right way to describe this guy. “Young Nat so-called ministerial ‘advisor'” would probably be more accurate. Also, I think (but can’t say for sure) that the meeting in Rome was in 2011 not 2009.

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