- Date published:
8:54 am, May 28th, 2015 - 103 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, corruption, Economy, exports, farming, farming, International, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, overseas investment, Politics, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: murray mccully
Murray McCully used to be a feared operator. Dubbed “the black prince” his wielding of the dark arts of politics created awe in the minds of those who admire that sorts of thing.
More recently he has become a major embarrassment. His handling of the MFAT restructure was shambolic and he was only saved by persuading former head John Allen to fall on his sword and take the blame. His handling of issues concerning the Malaysian Diplomat and the attack on Tania Billigsley should have persuaded anyone beyond any doubt that he is not fit to hold office.
His latest escapade involves paying large amounts of money (up to $11m) to a Saudi businessman to settle a legal dispute that did not exist and which is probably, at least in New Zealand, statute barred.
He tried to defend himself yesterday in Parliament. As words cannot adequately describe how awful he was I thought it best to include the video.
David Parker was trying to get McCully to confirm how much money had been paid to the Saudi businessman to settle the long running dispute. McCully claimed that actions of the fifth Labour Government had exposed New Zealand to potential liability of up to $30 million. The actions were the stopping of the live export of sheep, a policy decision made after 4,000 sheep died on a ship bound for Saudi Arabia and apparently subsequent discussions which led him to believe that the ban would have been dropped. National renewed the ban in 2010.
Words used by others to describe the transaction included “bribe” and “corrupt”. The payment appears to have been made to persuade an influential individual to support New Zealand’s proposed free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia.
Parliament reached peak cray with the following interchange:
Hon David Parker : Can the Minister point to any other example where the New Zealand Government has ever paid millions of dollars to an overseas businessman in order to advance a free-trade agreement?
Hon MURRAY McCULLY : I cannot point to any such example, because I do not think New Zealanders had a Government as stupid and dishonest as the Government that Mr Parker was a member of.
Seven years after its demise the fifth Labour Government is still being blamed for all of the country’s woes.
McCully was questioned this morning on Morning Report about the payment.
Guyon Espiner did a good job and McCully was absolutely dreadful.
He said that there was “an active misleading of the individuals who had invested over that period which would have led them that had they continued to invest they would have been able to export live sheep for slaughter to Saudi Arabia.” Mistake number one. A Minister of the Crown should never ever publicly agree with someone who apparently wants to sue the Crown about the basis of their claim.
McCully was asked if New Zealand would have lost the Court case, if one had ever been filed. McCully answered another question and talked about a claim of up to $30 million dollars. He was asked if NZ Inc had actually paid compensation. McCully then again answered another question.
Then Espiner asked a Zinger. He asked if a liability waiver had been obtained so that there would be no prospect of New Zealand being sued. McCully blustered and said that he was not going to get into the detail. He eventually came up with the response that the Government was satisfied that it had met that objective. The Government being satisfied it will not be sued is not the same as the businessman accepting the payment in full and final settlement of his claim. Either the waiver exists or it does not. Saying that you are confident you will not be sued suggests to me that a cast iron waiver had not been obtained.
I received the distinct impression McCully’s nose was attempting to grow during the interview.
Whatever the background the distinct impression is that New Zealand money has been paid to an individual not to settle a non existent legal dispute but to curry favour so that the Gulf Free Trade Agreement is signed. There is an unparliamentary word for this sort of behaviour.
Update: Maybe there was the threat of legal action but because of actions taken by National, not Labour. From Dimpost (h/t Sacha):
When you pay someone to be quiet so you can get what you want it's called a bribe. #HushMoney
— David Shearer (@DavidShearerMP) May 27, 2015
@danylmc @MatthewHootonNZ Plenty more to come out. See Question Time today. I'm not there as I am in Auckland talking, consulting, engaging
— Andrew Little (@AndrewLittleMP) May 27, 2015