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Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on

It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says.

“More than $12 million of taxpayer money has been wasted on the Al Khalaf ‘demonstration’ farm in the desert, including the scandalous $4m cash payment exposed last year.

“The latest example of incompetence or subterfuge is another $3m of taxpayer money going to an abattoir the Saudi government may end up owning.

“That is the same Saudi government that has executed 53 people, many of them government opponents, in the past four weeks.

“Once again the truth is having to be dragged out of our Government. In the last week Prime Minister John Key said Al Khalaf will own it, but then said check with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully. He said it would be owned by Al Khalaf, but then later said he was not sure.

“The documents belatedly released last year said the abattoir by law had to be owned by the Saudi government, so why is it that the New Zealand government has said the opposite this week before changing its story yet again? What are New Zealanders supposed to believe?

“This is part of a shabby unprincipled deal to facilitate a free trade agreement with a regime which has been condemned around the world. New Zealanders have a right to expect more from their government.” David Parker says.