Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Today's sheepgate revelations

The government's "defence" of Murray McCully's sordid Saudi sheep bribe has been to blame Labour, alleging that it promised to resume live sheep exports with Saudi Arabia and then changed its mind. But today in Question Time, it turns out that the opposite is true: it was Murray McCully who raised Saudi expectations. The transcripts aren't online yet, but you can watch the details here; McCully admits that he had met with Brownrigg and Al Khalaf's business partner George Assaf to discuss the resumption of the live sheep trade, and that he promised to "look seriously at resolving the live trade impasse". The government then turned around and renewed the export prohibition order - so you can see why they were upset.

More interestingly, it appears that former National Party President Michelle Boag has her dirty pawprints all over this, was involved in the negotiations, and may have suggested the bribe. So it looks like this goes beyond just McCully.