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Govt must end secrecy on sheep exports

Questions remain about secrecy surrounding a shipment of 50,000 sheep to Mexico this week, following years of controversy and problems with live exports, Labour’s Trade spokesperson David Parker says.

“New Zealand’s international reputation for humane treatment of animals is very important to the premium price New Zealand farmers get for chilled lamb exports.

“New Zealanders expect the Government to openly show how they will guarantee and monitor the health of these 50,000 sheep with only a single vet on board.

“National also kept the details of the $4million facilitation payment – which in other jurisdictions would be called a bribe – to the Al Khalaaf group in the Saudi sheep export controversy.

“It is now a week since Labour tried to make public the 2007 papers which deal directly with concerns about animal welfare upon landing of live sheep exports to Saudi Arabia. The Government alluded to these papers but has blocked their release since.

“The public is left in the dark and New Zealand taxpayers, New Zealand farmers and our international reputation all suffer the consequences,” says David Parker.