McCully unsure about what happens if Saudi farm sold

Foreign Minister Murray McCully must be clear whether New Zealand stands to get back any of the $11 million of taxpayer money, which he invested in a Saudi sheep farm, in the event the businessman who owns the farms sells up, the Green Party said today.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully must be clear whether New Zealand stands to get back any of the $11 million of taxpayer money, which he invested in a Saudi sheep farm, in the event the businessman who owns the farms sells up, the Green Party said today.

“In Select Committee today, Murray McCully couldn’t say for sure what will happen to the equipment, which New Zealand taxpayers paid for, if Mr Al-Khalaf chooses to sell his farm in Saudi Arabia,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“First the Government hid the fact that they actually have no contractual rights to access the farm and now they are being less than transparent about what could happen to the farm equipment New Zealanders paid for in the event Mr Al-Khalaf sells up.

“Even though he cooked up this deal, he was more than happy to shift the risk on to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise by saying they dealt with the equipment on the farm.

“New Zealanders should question whether any portion of the $11 million farm they spent will be returned, in the event parts of it end up for sale on Ebay or Alibaba.

“The case for this farm is becoming less and less clear. Murray McCully did a good job of muddying the water once again today at Select Committee.

“This is why we need the Auditor General to investigate. Without an independent investigation, taxpayers will never get the truth,” said Mr Shaw.

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