The Labour Party will today lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman after the Treasury became the latest government department to withhold information on the Saudi sheep scandal.
Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says the Government has been trying to hide facts from the public since it was revealed two months ago it flew sheep to Saudi Arabia, spent millions on a farm in the desert and provided a $4 million facilitation payment to the Al Khalaf group.
Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy’s comments are wrong and undermine her role, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says.
Ms Devoy has said today that the use of "half-baked" housing data to suggest overseas Chinese nationals are increasingly buying property in Auckland is "disappointing".“Chinese New Zealanders deserve better than this and so does anyone keen on actually solving this issue."
Today in Parliament Murray McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is that she was not on that council until 2012, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.
“Ms Boag was on TV on the 31 May of this year defending the government. Asked then about her involvement, she said she worked for the Middle East Business Council. Asked if she helped with the farm deal she said: ‘ No, no it was done entirely by officials.’
Blaming Saudi sand storms for the deaths of 70 per cent of Kiwi lambs born on a model farm meant to showcase New Zealand agricultural expertise is another part of the ludicrous attempt to disguise buying the cooperation of a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says.
“Ministers are now trying escape being caught up in the scandal caused by Murray McCully.
The 2007 cabinet papers relating to the prohibition on the export of live sheep for slaughter will be released at 1pm today if the Government fails to do so, says Labour’s Export and Trade spokesperson David Parker.
“It is now three weeks since the Prime Minister and Mr McCully claimed that former papers from the last Labour government proved that the $4 million facilitation payment to the Al Khalaf group, the $6 million model farm and the million dollar sheep flight were justified, and were to settle a claim for $20m to $30m by the Saudi group.
Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.
“Mr McCully insisted on his Saudi sheep stitch-up being under the table so didn’t seek advice on whether the deal contravened OECD conventions, ask for legal advice on Al-Khalaf’s threatened lawsuit and didn’t tell Cabinet the lawsuit threat had been withdrawn before his colleagues agreed to the first $4 million payment.
The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker.
“The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature for important reasons. Citizens need confidence that the law will be, and will appear to be, applied impartially.
“In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.
“In response the Minister refused to deny the allegation, which is scandalous.