- Date published:
9:57 am, September 15th, 2017 - 26 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, corruption, john key, making shit up, national, Politics, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: murray mccully, sheepgate
When the history of this National Government is reviewed by academics and scholars the tale of Sheepgate will stand out. In future years people will wonder if it was even true or the insane invention of someone high on drugs. Because if ever a series of posts deserved the “you can’t make this shit up” it is these.
Lets recap the history:
… a rich Saudi businessman became upset when New Zealand stopped live sheep exports following a particularly disastrous ship trip during which four thousand sheep died. National made noises as if the ban would be reversed but then resiled from this. To assuage the rich Saudi businessman’s feelings a total of $11.5 million of taxpayer’s money has been or is being paid. The sums include a “compensation but not a compensation” payment which was designed to keep the lawyers away from it and which incorporated a payment to the Saudi businessman for intellectual property for hosting New Zealand sheep on a New Zealand designed farm. The rest included the construction of a model farm in the middle of the Saudi desert and plane tickets for 900 sheep, most of which died after landing.
It seems clear the payment was essentially a facilitation payment to get the Saudi’s to sign a free trade agreement. Not only is this on the face of it corrupt, but it has so far failed so it is also clear evidence of incompetence.
Initially McCully tried to sneak the issue through Cabinet and then hide the mess. And when it was reported on National used that good old technique of blaming Labour for the situation.
The Auditor General became involved. National celebrated a finding that McCully had not acted corruptly. How low National’s standards are.
Here is a video of John Key in Parliament where he said that Cabinet was confident that the payment would remove the prospect of any litigation. Marvel at the high quality level of distortion and diversion. Key was extraordinarily good at this.
And here is video of McCully in Parliament saying that “I am satisfied that we would never have done so had we not been advised that the claim had some prospect of success.”
Advised by who? An OIA seeking to verify the existence of any advice was buried by National but has recently been resolved.
And in a case of extraordinarily bad timing it was confirmed that no legal advice concerning the dispute from MFAT was ever received. National paid out a large amount of money to settle a non existing legal dispute and did not even bother to receive legal advice before doing so and then tried to blame the opposition for it.
From Radio New Zealand:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not provide legal advice to the government on the risk of being sued by a disgruntled Saudi Arabian businessman, documents reveal.
The admission that no legal advice on the lawsuit threat ever existed directly contradicts comments in 2015 by then-Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the ministry had taken advice on the issue.
The National government did an $11.5 million deal with Saudi businessman Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf after Cabinet was advised in February 2013 that the Al Khalaf Group was threatening to sue New Zealand for $20-$30m. Mr Al Khalaf had invested heavily in New Zealand and believed New Zealand’s 2003 ban on live exports had left him misled and out of pocket.
The deal included using taxpayer funds to build Mr Al Khalaf a $6m agrihub farm in the Saudi desert, as well as flying in over 900 sheep and handing over $4m in cash.
The government argued that the deal saved New Zealand from the risk of being sued for a much larger amount.
However, MFAT and Mr McCully have long refused to release any legal advice it relied on in doing the deal.
In a 2015 interview on TV3’s The Nation, Mr McCully was asked repeatedly what the advice said and whether he would release it.
He replied “it’s the ministry’s advice” and “I’m not going to release the ministry’s advice”. When asked if there was any legal basis for a lawsuit, he said “the advice was that those circumstances did provide such a basis”.
Yet an Official Information Act response from MFAT “following discussion with the Chief Ombudsman” has revealed “it did not seek or provide advice on the extent of the risk of a claim in the New Zealand courts for compensation from the Al Khalaf Group against the government”.
“Effectively, the minister had misled the public,” said Labour’s David Parker.
“This confirms that the $4m cash payment was never legitimate and thanks to disgraceful covering up by MFAT and McCully it has taken more than two years to get an answer.”
If ever you wanted a clear cut case of National misleading Parliament and the country this is it.
“..National paid out money to settle a non existing dispute…”
National paid a bribe.
There, fixed it for you. 🙂
National paid an unsucessful bribe.
There fixed it for you. ;-p
National badly botched a bribe.
It’s interesting to note the demeanour of those seated around Key in the first video. Very quiet and unresponsive. Normally when Key was at his obfuscating best, they would be clapping and cheering. Not only did they know he was lying through his teeth, they were [perhaps] faintly embarrassed. English remained embedded in his notes and didn’t look up once – at least not until the end.
It’s amusing sometimes watching the surrounding National MPs eh @Anne? The Upston smilers/ smirkers, the Bennett new-found fashionista who sometimes looks like the smiley face and laughter has been brought to us courtesy of the Caci Clinic, the nodders, the buffoons, the ‘considered’ look on faces like FInlayson.
I sometimes wonder the reason Parliament TV was brought in-house rather than letting the potential for independent media lose.
Sometimes they look like they’re in a rehearsal for the Brown’s Bay Amateur Dramatic Society’s next pantomime
Great points there Anne. – very good intuition.
“English remained embedded in his notes and didn’t look up once – at least not until the end.”
English was guilty by association, and should be sacked the bloody crooked criminal he is!!!!!
Is it safe to come out yet ? Is this knife-edge election over ?
McCully might yet retire as a eunuch overseeing one of their harems.
Why would any sane family employ McCully as a Enunch? You’d want some one competent serving your household.
Sounds like Joyce got it wrong allright. Its not the 11.7 billion hole in Labour’s budget, its the 11.5 million thats now missing because of Nat’s bribe
Good point. Especially since even last night Joyce/English still trying to make a meal of the $11bil hole. Of course McCready and Key out of Parliament now so cannot be held in contempt of Parliament can they?
Can’t find any mention on Stuff. Strange that
This was on stuff today:
But I found this from 2015 more revealing. Murray McCully may not be seeking reelection, but he clearly had accomplices in the scheme. Bill English is particular is still around to be asked questions:
But can we expect there to be any follow up action on this huge deception not only to Parliament but also to the people of New Zealand?
How does the 1990 Bill of Rights or the Parliamentary Privileges Act apply in this case?
And will there be any consequences?
I’m not holding my breath.
McCully and Key are not poor or brown or female. So no, no consequences. Their supporters condone this stuff in their own. Joyce is strategist, so he woukd have known.
The speaker will have something to say, right? And the media are chasingvhim down now, right? And they are doorstepping Key and McCully, right? And wont stop til a head rolls, right? Yeah right.
Who was Deputy PM at the tine cos he would have been in onbit unless the PM was keeping him the dark?
I don’t know enough about the actions Parliament can take in a case like this where the whole of Cabinet were complicit. Can, for instance, their retirement perks be withheld as a punishment? It would be nice to think we don’t have to pay these criminals for the rest of their lives.
Unless it is a Crime the conduct is determined byvthe PM of the time. In this case the PM was complicit, so nothing to be done here.
The PM of the time can decide can he/she? That is a perfect example of atemporarily elected person taking upon him/herself a quasi-royal right to pass judgment and make state decisions. The NZ gummint have connived to convince the NZ public that they are nonpareil, and they aren’t up to running a casino honestly.
It should be noted that in Oz the Minister of Something has the ability to decide who is to be arrested and deported (from NZs living there anyway). How can you raise a reasoned and fair argument in the light of a government assuming these sorts of powers.
Fair and reasonable. (Throws hands up in air and stumps away shouting something unintelligible but could be one of the sayings that Wikipedia has listed –
“”Going to hell in a handbasket”, “going to hell in a handcart”, “going to hell in a handbag”, “go to hell in a bucket”, “sending something to hell in a handbasket” and “something being like hell in a handbasket” are variations on an American allegorical locution of unclear origin, which describes a situation headed for …”
– and which has no certain end in their explanation which is even more alarming.
“Sep 15, 2017 2:45 PMLaura Walters
Bill English on the Saudi sheep deal:
English wouldn’t be drawn on the allegation that Murray McCully misled parliament and the NZ public around the Saudi sheep deal.
Claims by the Government a controversial Saudi sheep farm deal was necessary to avoid the risk of being sued have been rejected by MFAT.
The deal involved spending $11.5 million on establishing an agribusiness hub and sheep farm in Saudi Arabia in partnership with influential Saudi businessman Hmood Alali Al-Khalaf.
English says the Auditor General suggested there were procedural issues that could be dealt with better but that was it.”
So just duck Bill English. “I Know nutting!”
And talking of Dirty Tricks, From Stacey Kirk:
“The Ministry of Social Development is the latest Government department to rule itself out of the “whodunnit” saga surrounding the leak of NZ First leader Winston Peters’ personal pension information.
The ministry joins Inland Revenue in confirming, following investigations, their staff did not leak details of Peters’ superannuation payment.
“Following information regarding Mr Winston Peter’s Superannuation payments entering the public arena, the Ministry launched an investigation to assess whether there was any indication that a Ministry employee may have been the source of the information.
“That process is now complete, and we can confirm that all staff that had access to the relevant information had a reasonable business purpose for accessing it, and there is no evidence that this information was passed to a third party,” the ministry said in statement.”
So who is left Paula Bennett?
Make the nasty questions go away! Then I’ll come out from under the pillow. (Suggested response to aides from McCully.) There, there little Murray, Nurse Nannynat said to the beleaguered MP. Words only mean what you want them to mean, show them you are the master.
Labour foreign affairs spokesman David Parker said the National Government and outgoing Foreign Minister Murray McCully “sure as hell” misled Parliament.
“For two years they forced MFAT to cover-up this fact… This sad cover-up is now in tatters,” he said.
Parker said National relied on the claim the information was commercially sensitive to avoid answering questions about the deal in Parliament and Select Committees.
“It’s scandalous that over $11 million was wasted on cash, equipment and sheep for Saudi businessman Hamood Al Khalaf when no debt was owed.”
Parker said Bill English and John Key would have been aware no legal advice existed, and said National likely continued the cover-up as it would have been “deeply embarrassed” about the “wasted expenditure”.
So whats the link to Brownrigg Ag?
In my view national got played/conned by the Saudi Arabia they have multi media to. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Evidenced by their miniscule response, the MSM see this as no big deal.
They are failing democracy.
They are failing to uphold and protect Human Rights!