John Key needs to stand down Foreign Affairs Minister Murry McCully following an admission by Saudi businessman George Assaf that there was no threat of legal action over the live sheep import ban, the Green Party said today.
In an interview screened on the Nation today, Saudi businessman George Assaf said his company had no “appetite or ambition” to take the New Zealand Government to court over the ban on the live sheep exports to Saudi Arabia.
This contradicts claims made by Murry McCully in Cabinet Papers that the Government needed to enter into a mulit-million dollar deal with Assaf’s business partner Hmood Alkhalaf to avoid a $30 million legal action over the ban.
“It’s impossible for John Key to continue to have confidence in Murry McCully. McCully appears to have misled Cabinet, Parliament and the public, in which case he should no longer be a Minister,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“The public has never seen any proof of this so-called legal action against the Government. Unless Murray McCully can produce the evidence now, he needs to go as Minister.
“The entire case for spending millions of taxpayer’s dollar on a sheep farm in the middle of a desert was the threat of a legal action. Now we’re told that threat never existed.
“If there was no threat of legal action then the $11.5 million of taxpayers money given to Mr Al Khalaf was simply a bribe to advance a trade deal that never eventuated.
“Why is John Key continuing to stand by Murray McCully who has refused to be upfront and has misled the public again and again on the Saudi sheep bribe?
“After all, this type of behavior is just what Murray McCully does. Let's not forget he was sacked in the 90s for a similarly dodgy practices as a Minister,” said Mr Shaw.