The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says.
“The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of government. The Auditor General’s oversight powers are intended to ensure taxpayer money is applied legally, and uphold proper standards of ministerial and departmental conduct.
“Spending over $11 million for the Al Khalaf group - including for a $4 million cash payment, a model farm in the desert and over $1m on flying sheep – has never made sense.
“The suppression of information has added to the suspicions. There are many disturbing aspects to this highly unusual arrangement.
“We look forward to the Auditor General investigating all of these.
“If, as appears likely, there has been improper conduct, or misrepresentation of the true nature of these payments, clarity from the Auditor General will help avoid any repeat and will go some way to restoring New Zealand’s international reputation for fair dealing, ”says David Parker.