Friday, May 08, 2015

Isn't there a name for this?

The New Zealand government is currently trying to negotiate a "free-trade agreement" (which will as usual be nothing of the sort) with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council. But there's a problem: banning live sheep exports upset Hamood Al Ali Khalaf, a powerful Saudi businessman. So they gave him $6 million to make his objections go away:

The Government's spent millions of taxpayer dollars kitting out a farm with top-of-the-line New Zealand equipment and hundreds of sheep to "compensate" a Saudi businessman.

ONE News has learned that the Government has spent $6 million air freighting 900 pregnant ewes and farming equipment to Hamood Al Ali Khalaf's farm in Saudi Arabia.

According to Mr Al Ali Khalaf's business partner, Sydney-based George Assaf, everything from the fencing to "the shed and the wool shed and the yards and the drafting machines, the weighing, the scales, you mention it, it's all from New Zealand".

Mr Assaf says the deal was done to "compensate" the pair over a six-year-old ban of live sheep exports in which they say they lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

He says New Zealand was told "unless you fix that part of it, we won't sign" the free trade deal between New Zealand and the Gulf States.

National: gives $6 million to a foreign millionaire while kiwi kids go to school hungry.

But that snark aside, there's a name for this sort of activity, of paying people so that you get your policy: its called bribery. And if Khalaf was a public official, rather than just a rich prick who had officials in his pocket, it would be a crime.

(No, I don't buy the use of the term "compensation". "Compensation" implies wrongdoing. And we did nothing wrong by banning the trade in misery of live sheep exports. Quite the opposite, in fact. The fact that we're supposedly paying compensation for this simply heaps obscenity on obscenity).