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#Sheepgate – The Compensation payment for the claim that did not exist

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, July 4th, 2016 - 27 comments
Categories: john key, national, same old national, trade - Tags: , , ,

McCully sheep in wolfs clothing

The Nation has been doing some digging into #Sheepgate and last weekend broadcast the results.  There were some findings that if confirmed should result in McCully’s cabinet career being ended. Not to mention a potential Privileges Hearing to decide if he has misled Parliament.

Here at the Standard the issue has received a lot of attention.  Just search sheepgate to see how the controversy has developed.

To recount 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.

The revelations on the Nation are astounding.

The showcase agrihub in the middle of a Saudi desert is that accessible that a cameraman sent there by TV3 was trespassed from the site and then received a visit by local police who confiscated his camera cards.  Showcases are normally not so secretive.

The Auditor General is involved and has been researching the matter since August last year.  Apparently the investigation is ongoing and a conclusion is not due soon.  It is hard to understand why it should take so long.

Tim Watkin at Pundit has summarised the disclosures made on the Nation:

  • Sheikh Hamood’s business partner George Assaf says, contrary to McCully’s claims and his cabinet paper in 2013, that they never had the ambition or appetite to sue the New Zealand government.

  • Despite confirmation from John Key even [this weekend] that his government has never considered resuming live sheep exports, MFAT documents show McCully was asking officials about how and when live sheep exports could be restarted. Specifically, he was investigating the possibility of a shipment in late 2015 of 45,000 sheep to Saudi Arabia.

  •  Assaf says the planeload of 900 sheep sent to Saudi in 2014 was “a trial shipment before one day they decide to take a bigger shipment by sea”.

  • McCully, Hamood and Assaf discussed the possibility of creating a satellite farm in Ethiopia, using official development assistance funds.

  • And an MFAT document includes an action point: to develop a “scientific trial” that would involve a shipment of sheep, based on a suggestion by Hamood.

If it has been determined that there was no actual credible legal threat, and this appears to be more and more likely, then McCully must go.  If he was aiming to resume live sheep exports and did not inform the Prime Minister or Cabinet then he should go.  If he was going to use development assistance funds to try and stitch up a private deal with a Saudi businessman to facilitate a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia then he should go.

The Auditor General must proceed with haste with the completion of the report into this matter.  As Matthew Hooton has said there are worrying issues about whether this is evidence of incompetence or corruption.  Or both.

27 comments on “#Sheepgate – The Compensation payment for the claim that did not exist”

  1. Sabine 1

    corruption.

    i think we should be now be past the ‘incompetence’ meme, they are not incompetent, they are corrupt to the core.

    • Pasupial 1.1

      I would rather go for the last option; that National are both corrupt and incompetent. The interesting thing is that their lies are starting to be investigated by post-Campbell TV3. Maybe Weldon leaving has something to do with that?

    • Henry Filth 1.2

      But, while incompetent, they are stutteringly bad at corruption.

      Which is a good thing, when you think about it.

  2. Greg 2

    They backed a business man with dubious claims to royal connections, or backed the wrong prince to succeed
    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/who-will-be-the-next-king-of-saudi-arabia

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/saudi-payment-illegal-in-other-countries-2015062419#axzz4DO6ugv9u

    this begs another case to be investigated:

    Its incredulous that IRD needed a extra 205 million dollars to make Keys pet project of zero rated tax company structures somehow compliant with EU laws.

    All for a business profiting a few lawyers and accountants to 23 million dollars.

    The Government could also bring forward a second tranche of anti-money laundering measures. Mr Key said while it was possible there were rogue trust companies, they had to meet laws, include money laundering laws, and Inland Revenue was recently given $205 million for compliance.’
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11636261

    In America would this be a legal case for racketeering, to convict corrupt politicians?

  3. Wyndham 3

    Key is still maintaining with vehemence , that Phil Goff is to blame !

    • Greg 3.1

      Gambling for a FTA is what its all about, and they continue to bet on a failed prospect.

      What is Gambling?

      Gambling consists of making a bet on the outcome of some event. Bets may be placed on horse races, sports contests, or games of chance such as dice, cards, bingo, lottery, slot machines, or roulette. Bets usually consist of money or other assets which are won or lost depending on whether a correct or an incorrect prediction is made. The prospect of winning a large jackpot sometimes motivates people to take unusual financial risks and may lead to gambling addiction

      http://www.scientificpsychic.com/workbook/gambling.html

  4. Mrs Brillo 4

    And wasn’t that “satellite farm” in a third country just a paperwork facilitator enabling New Zealand to export live sheep under one guise, as breeding ewes, knowing fully well that the third country would immediately onsell them as an (illegal here) live sheep export for slaughter?

    Looks like it’s not only money we’re laundering, it’s quadrupeds.

    National’s New Zealand, the dirty washing machine of the South Pacific.

  5. adam 5

    Does Murray know something we don’t know? Like the rich Saudi is really the go to guy for ISIS, and Murray is doing his bit to protect NZ? Or like it really is like James Bond film and no one is sure who the bad guys are (though it probably is spectre) ? Murray knows that to keep everyone safe he must hand over the sheep, and the money? Murray knows, oh Murray knows.

    Poor attempts at satire aside, If Murray knows or does not know why he has handed over cash and sheep I think Murray is done. How many times can a Minister make mistakes in this government? It must be a new record for incompetence! And for a minister to publicly shows his stupidity – new record as well?!?!

    Personally, I hope the nats keep him, he goes a long way to show just how bloody awful they are, how stupid they are, and how shocking inept at the business of government this fifth nation government has truly become.

  6. slumbergod 6

    But of course the govt will cover it up like they always do because they are all as corrupt as each other. If they want to be buddy-buddies with evil arab regimes they should sell up and go live with them. Start by sending McCully over on a sheep transport the same as the sheep he sent.

  7. Smilin 7

    The whole thing a costly exercise in graft and sucking up to the Saudis to which we should not have had a bar of .
    The cost of this ill thought folly is absolutely treasonous to this nation and to anybody who can add 2+2 must feel absolutely had at this whole concept of farming
    You want sheep you arabs buy our meat or AI progeny straws and cut the crap
    This piece of political stupidity is beyond excuse or rectification and all the idiots who bought into this should be taken to account but as usual Key will gloss it up with another billion dollar false smile of borrowing and government responsibility will be waived with the intelligence of one – a sheep vote

  8. Onesie 8

    I wonder how much B____ made facilitating the deal…

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    For reasons of commercial sensitivity and National’s security there will be no further information released about this matter.

  10. wyndham 10

    Key will never dare to sack McCully, the master of dark forces in the National Party. He knows far too much. Not known as Machiavellian for nothing. Besides, he’s a great pal of the odious Boag.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    As Matthew Hooton has said there are worrying issues about whether this is evidence of incompetence or corruption.

    It appears to be incompetent corruption and as such McCully needs to go to jail for it and the receivers of it made persona non grata in NZ. Make it so that they can’t do business ever again in NZ.

    • Greg 11.1

      good luck with that,

      The principle of collective responsibility underpins the system of Cabinet government. It reflects democratic principle: the House expresses its confidence in the collective whole of government, rather than in individual Ministers. Similarly, the Governor-General, in acting on ministerial advice, needs to be confident that individual Ministers represent official government policy. In all areas of their work, therefore, Ministers represent and implement government policy.

      http://www.cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/5.11#5.22

      so not individually legally responsible,
      but they sure accept royal titles quickly enough when the retire!

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        It reflects democratic principle: the House expresses its confidence in the collective whole of government, rather than in individual Ministers.

        True but if a single member has acted inappropriately they can be removed – see privileges committee actions. If a single member has committed a crime (unfortunately corruption doesn’t appear to be a crime in NZ) then that single MP can go to jail and, of course, be removed from parliament.

        People who are not of ‘good character’ can be prevented from owning business and land in NZ under present law.

  12. Neil 12

    Move along nothing to see here, Mc Cully has done no wrong & will keep his job.

    • Onesie 12.1

      “McCully, Hamood and Assaf discussed the possibility of creating a satellite farm in Ethiopia, using official development assistance funds.” Stealing in any other language except NZ.

      • Greg 12.1.1

        Well the Saudi one was a epic fail, 2/3s of the lambs died in a dust storm,
        in the rest didnt get used for breeding stock just ended up on the dinner plate.
        Great way to treat a expensive delivery of mutton…

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      What McCully did in most countries of the world is called a bribe and results in prison time.

  13. P.H .Tredo 13

    yet mor lies from the key govenment , How much more dose the rest of NZ need to be shown before action is taken to stop the rot

  14. Gabby 14

    Who’s Munter McMutton’s sheepfarmer friend/creditor/potential banker?

  15. Stuart Munro 15

    For 11 million they could’ve refitted a ship so that transported animals were not distressed. I could’ve been a cabinet minister, but I wasn’t stupid enough.

  16. North 16

    Mmmmm…….that McCully’s a piece of dodgy shit ain’t he ?

  17. Samwise 17

    National is in it’s Third term defense-mode. They’ll never sack McCully, even if he was filmed shagging one of those sheep before sending it off to Saudi Arabia to die a pitiful death in a godforsaken desert.

    Phil Heatley was sacked for what, a couple of $79 bottles of wine put on his ministerial credit card?

    McCully wastes $11.5 million of our money and keeps his job.

    The difference is that Heatley had the misfortune to screw up in the wrong term.

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