How dodgy was Murray McCully's Saudi sheep bribe? So dodgy that he instructed the Saudis to avoid any mention of "compensation" in their invoices as that would involve lawyers [evade trialwall with incognito window]:
Foreign Minister Murray McCully wanted to set up his deal over the Saudi Arabian farm so lawyers and bureaucrats would not be involved.
He did not want the payments to the Al Khalaf Group called “compensation” for the losses they suffered as a result of New Zealand’s ban on the export of live sheep for slaughter.
And his aides were busy instructing the Al Khalaf Group what wording to use on their invoices even before the Cabinet had approved the project.
The report quoted Mr Assaf as saying that if the Government also proceeded with the MoU “the issue of compensation would therefore be less costly.”
It goes on: “The Minister noted that he would not want any financial contributions to be treated as compensation as this would involve a plethora of lawyers and bureaucrats. Rather he would prefer an investment in a partnership.”
McCully told the Saudis to invoice him before Cabinet had approved the expenditure, and told Cabinet the spending would be "for services set out under our contract". In other words, he cut a deal without consulting his Cabinet colleagues, then repeatedly deceived them about the purpose of millions of dollars of spending.
In a functional democracy, McCully would have been forced to resign for this. But under National, he'll probably get a knighthood. A "higher standard of government"? I think not.