Friday, June 19, 2015

Self-serving redactions

When Labour released the sheep files on Wednesday, John Key desperately tried to continue his Muldoonist smear by claiming information showing he was right had had to be redacted. But according to NewstalkZB's Barry Soper, he lied:

But yours truly has been able to lift the blacked out bits and have a squizz beneath them. Having read the naughty bits, it begged the question, why they were blacked out at all, given the papers told us little more than the axing of the live sheep trade didn't go down well in Riyadh and that it could affect the outcome of the free trade agreement with the region? Now that was hardly a reason for keeping it from our prying eyes.

There was no mention of the threat from the Saudi businessman that he was thinking of taking legal action. Certainly he wasn't happy the live sheep trade had been stopped, given that he'd invested a lot of money in it and the papers do show the Saudis may have been led to believe the trade could be resumed.

Now you can see why the Tories weren't interested in releasing the papers, they didn't fit their spin!

And this is why you should never trust government redactions, or anything they say about a redacted document (or secret information in general): because when they think they can't be caught out, politicians simply lie.

Update: And more from Radio New Zealand:
Radio New Zealand has seen the uncensored Cabinet documents and there is no mention of threatened legal action by Al-Khalaf, as the Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed, and nothing about a deal.

The papers make clear the then Labour Government knew the Saudi agriculture minister was extremely unimpressed with the continuing ban on live sheep exports, and that it could affect the chances of a free trade deal with the Gulf States.

The papers say there is a low chance of a complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

So our Prime Minister imposes his own cloak of secrecy, then lies about what's behind it. Which means we should take everything else he says about secret material with a grain of salt as well.