Friday, December 04, 2015

Another bribe

Back in May, we learned that Murray McCully had given a Saudi billionaire $6 million plus regulatory concessions in a naked effort to bribe him into removing his objections to a free trade agreement. It was a corrupt deal, an outright bribe, which pissed all over our good reputation as a nation which doesn't do that sort of thing. But rather than cleaning up its act, and forswearing future bribes, the government is planning to give him another $2.5 million:

The government is about to spend more than $2.5 million of taxpayers' money building an abattoir for a disaffected Saudi businessman.

The kit-set abattoir is part of the Government's $12m attempt to appease him.

It has already given the influential businessman, Hamood Al-Ali Al-Khalaf, $4m and has flown 900 pregnant sheep to his farm - nearly all the lambs subsequently died.

Mr Al-Khalaf has opposed New Zealand getting a free trade deal in the region.

And he'll no doubt keep opposing it as long as the government keeps paying him millions of dollars a year not to - because that's the incentive they're setting. But its also simply corrupt, and something New Zealand shouldn't be doing. And if Saudi Arabia is so corrupt that a billionaire can dictate their foreign policy and demands baksheesh to do so, they're probably not the sort of country we want a free trade agreement with anyway.