logo7

Farming

Sheep123

The government owes an explanation over the $6 million dodgy deal done with a powerful Saudi millionaire - a deal disguised as a New Zealand agribusiness service hub and demonstration farm, says New Zealand First.

"What ministerial idiot thought it was a good idea to dish out such taxpayers’ largesse?" says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

"This stinks because Saudi Arabia isn’t even our largest market in the Middle East. The biggest is the UAE. Why ignore that market unless this is a favour.

"Reports suggest the government is hiding some form of compensation for the loss of the live sheep trade as this ‘agribusiness service hub and a demonstration farm’.

"We know that in late 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding was ready for signing between the Saudi and New Zealand governments but it did not go ahead.

"Our sources say the Saudis were incensed, with the Saudi Minister of Agriculture visiting the Hawke's Bay farm of George Assaf before the 2008 election. Prime Minister John Key must come clean about any promises he or his party made to reinstate the live sheep trade before the 2008 election.

"Certainly, with such a significant amount going into the Saudi farm of Mr Assaf’s business partner, Hamoud Al Ali Khalaf, serious questions arise over this so-called ‘compensation.’ Are taxpayers being asked to bail Mr Key out of yet more promises he has made?

"Suggestions that it is part of trying to secure a free trade deal are just a red herring. This smacks of National and some sort of payback."

Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD