The silence of the lambs – How did National get away with a failed bribe?


Sigh, remember the good old days of John Key’s National Party when the outright corruption and abuse of power was naked and visceral and the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind excitedly enthused they’d have a beer with Key any day of the week?

Despite the mass surveillance lies.

Despite the threats against journalists.

Despite the Dirty Politics.

Despite the vast increase in unchecked police powers.

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Despite the weird ponytail pulling fetish.

Despite the gutting of public infrastructure and the sale of state assets.

Despite that one time Key’s office colluded with the fucking Secret Intelligence Service to smear Phil Goff months before the 2011 election that won it for Key?

Despite Murry McCully’s unbelievable Saudi Sheep Bribe…

Damning final verdict on McCully’s Saudi sheep deal

The CEOs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise have delivered a final nail in the coffin of Murray McCully’s Saudi Arabian “Agri-Hub”.

The pair have authored a damning letter finally responding to then -Auditor General, Lyn Provost’s , highly critical report on the project which she produced in 2016 when National — and McCully — were still in power.

The letter was sent to the Office of he Auditor General only last week.

…you may not remember the unbelievable clusterfuck that was the Saudi Sheep bribe fiasco, so let me remind you in detail the fully fledged horror of it all.

After this occurred in 2013, we got this whitewash report 3 years later in 2016 that the Minister at the time, Murray MCully, kinda acted within the law in regards to a Saudi Sheep bribe. We were assured that there wasn’t anything to see here, just a Senior Minister paying an $11.5 million dollar bribe to a Saudi Businessman (Hmood Al Khalaf) in the sad hope that we can get a free trade deal with Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst Human Rights records on the planet and who is also one of the biggest funders of extremism.

They also crucify people, not figuratively, literally. They literally crucify people. This is who we want to trade with, a country that still has crucifixion on its list of execution styles.

The claim was that Prime Minister John Key had promised a Saudi Businessman (Hmood Al Khalaf) that NZ would restart live sheep exports for slaughter in Saudi Arabia. National didn’t go ahead with live sheep exports and so the Saudi Businessman threw a tantrum and somehow managed to stall NZ-Saudi Arabia free trade talks. McCully told Cabinet that if we didn’t pay him a bribe, then we could be open to a $30m counter lawsuit.

So what Official Information Act revelations did we get from MFAT in 2017?

Saudi sheep deal: MFAT didn’t provide legal advice on lawsuit risk

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not provide legal advice to the government on the risk of being sued by a disgruntled Saudi Arabian businessman, documents reveal.

The admission that no legal advice on the lawsuit threat ever existed directly contradicts comments in 2015 by then-Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the ministry had taken advice on the issue.

The National government did an $11.5 million deal with Saudi businessman Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf after Cabinet was advised in February 2013 that the Al Khalaf Group was threatening to sue New Zealand for $20-$30m. Mr Al Khalaf had invested heavily in New Zealand and believed New Zealand’s 2003 ban on live exports had left him misled and out of pocket.

The deal included using taxpayer funds to build Mr Al Khalaf a $6m agrihub farm in the Saudi desert, as well as flying in over 900 sheep and handing over $4m in cash.

The government argued that the deal saved New Zealand from the risk of being sued for a much larger amount.

However, MFAT and Mr McCully have long refused to release any legal advice it relied on in doing the deal.

In a 2015 interview on TV3’s The Nation, Mr McCully was asked repeatedly what the advice said and whether he would release it.

He replied “it’s the ministry’s advice” and “I’m not going to release the ministry’s advice”. When asked if there was any legal basis for a lawsuit, he said “the advice was that those circumstances did provide such a basis”.

Yet an Official Information Act response from MFAT “following discussion with the Chief Ombudsman” has revealed “it did not seek or provide advice on the extent of the risk of a claim in the New Zealand courts for compensation from the Al Khalaf Group against the government”.

“Effectively, the minister had misled the public,” said Labour’s David Parker.

…well, well, well. So there actually wasn’t any investigation whatsoever of McCully’s bullshit claims that we were on the hook for a $30million dollar legal case if we didn’t bribe Hmood Al Khalaf which means there was no justification whatsoever which means McCully lied to us and his own Caucus and no one was held accountable?


When you remind yourself just how corrupt the National Party in power were, and then look at the so called ‘corruption’ of this current Government whose main criticism is that Jacinda is too popular overseas and hasn’t managed to repair all the damage National caused over a decade, you really appreciate the double standards we as voters accept in NZ.

When National are corrupt, it’s nothing to see here, yet when Labour are in power we get manufactured allegations that the PM lied about a sexual assault.

No wonder National are polling so well, the entire media establishment are a propaganda wing of the existing political interests.


  1. And the persistent myth that transNational is the natural party of business and therefore better managers of the economy.

    • Plus the National Party masturbatory delusion that they are “the natural party of government”.
      Howls of derisive laughter……

  2. “No wonder National are polling so well, the entire media establishment are a propaganda wing of the existing political interests.”

    That there can be no argument and those that completely dismiss Nationals past and place the failures on Labour are just plain ignorant.

    • Except for those who aren’t ignorant and are simply perpetuating the narrative out of either self-interest or partisan bias.

      • out of either self-interest or partisan bias.

        For some in the media, it’s their job to undermine the Left. That’s at least part of what happened with Corbyn, and it has kept Bernie largely invisible. Propaganda and the Defeat of Jeremy Corbyn

        At that link is discussed “the assault on democracy from the billionaires and their willing minions. [The Left] must plan for the inevitable character assassination of anyone who threatens the elites and their established order”.

        • And, if you think that this does not happen that much here in little NZ, think again! It does, all the time.

          Here’s a recent example that I found jaw-dropping. It is US news, but it was major. On the day of the Iowa Dem Caucus results, Sanders was right up there. In fact he was leading in the popular vote. Then all the tech stuff-ups happened, the delays, and a part-count result was given, showing the Butti guy in front. But it was still unfinished (it is still now not finalised, I think), and it was Bernie who was neck and neck at least.

          I’d been following various US site updates as it happened. Then Newshub covered it. Sort of. Well, they said they were covering it and they gave an appearance of doing so. But they somehow managed to give their entire report without once mentioning Sanders! He was disappeared. It was as if he did not exist.

  3. Our NZ media aren’t just ignorant Bert they are bias, discriminative, one eyed, shit stirrers, racist liars and that is putting it mildly.

    • Bang on as usual Michelle and that is exactly the answer to Martyns headline on how they got away with it. Where was Hosking, where was Jonathon Young’s sister Audrey?
      If it wasn’t so lucid, it would be vomit inducing. Did I ask where was Hosking? Because we can guarantee almost daily anti Government posts until the next election

  4. Fearfacts have been almost running Chinationals election campaign on their behalf, with constant attack pieces on Coalition parties and puff pieces on the Opposition. “Stuff” is a polite term for their conduit. I won’t even bother to mention the blatant Tory rag based in Auckland now paywalled.

    But what must really hurt the egos of the 1%-representing minions of the right is that, DESPITE a heavy MSM bias in their favour, and despite a tsunami of misinformation and lies being pumped out via their extremely well-funded party machine, they are STILL BELOW the current govt in the polls.

    Imagine where these sellout liars would be if there was a level playing field.

  5. Gah !- makes me sick reading about National , Martyn.

    I’ve been there so many times posting about it as have so many others.

    All I’ve got left to say about National that sums it up in one obscene word is :


    There , I’m done.

    F@ck em.

    Or I could just post this instead to be more objective and polite around the dinner table. › the-great-big-list-of-john-keys-big-fat-lies-updated
    The great big list of John Key’s big fat lies (UPDATED) | The …

  6. Yeah but? See? I’ve been telling you all along. Zero, of this surprises me.
    The Natzo’s are bent as fuck. So are Labour. Labour are arguably worse because they mince about all misty eyed and droop or drawers plucking at our heart strings pretending to be an alternative to the Mafia who are the Natzo’s with a level of cynicism I’ve not seen since the last time I saw SIR pete jackson asking for your money to pay towards his $600 million dollar net worth. He has a fucking Gulf Stream for fucks sake!
    Lets get back to the natzo’s?
    The Natzo’s aye? The Farmer’s Party, traditionally. muzza mccully? Natzo muccully. MFAT muccully. Balls deep in YOUR millions to Arabs in exchange for live sheep?
    Where’s YOUR mark up in that deal AO/NZ Sheep Farmers?

    Farmers? Farmers…? Hello…? Anybody there…? Hello….hello???
    Where the fuck are you in all this? Where the fuck’s damion o’conner? Where’s the useless old pricks in Fed Farmers?
    Ooooohhh…? Riiiiight. You’re alone on your farms knowing we all hate your guts’. Suiciding. Becoming alcoholics. Being buried alive in foreign bankster debt… But how did that happen? Who sold you out while you were making our foreign exchange?
    Was it the Natzo’s? C’mon…? Was it? It was, wasn’t it? It was.
    What are you going to do about it then?
    Serious question? What? Are? You? Going? To? Do? About? It? Then?
    Here’s my answer. It may not be the answer you want to hear, but here it is anyway.
    Stop. Producing. One year. Stop. Now. Today.
    No rams, no Bulls, no grains, no fruits, no wools, no mutton, no beef, pork, no venison, no timbers, no fishes, no wines, no beersies, no heavy road transport, no rail freight, no milk, no cheeses, no breads, no fresh vegetables in the 2xsupermarket cartels, nope siree, none of that there. For one year. For One Year. Imagine the fucking chaos?
    The banksters would spin out, the Flouncers of Ponsonby would be fucked once Fi Fi the Spoodledoodle was fried and eaten, those in our parliament would ponder where the finances went to keep health, education etc afloat. Imagine the chaos!? It would be fucking brilliant!
    Farmers? All you have to do is nothing. Not one thing, to bring this whole shit show to it’s knees.

    • Hey CB, I hope you and yours were/ are all A-OK in the floods down your way.
      They sound and look-on-tv a bit daunting. Big clean-ups underway.
      Good luck with it all anyways.

  7. The Nasty Natz and their rich donors and many media friends are ABOVE THE LAW pure and simple.

    Two forms of justice exist in our neoliberal world.

    The best defence money can buy and legal aid.

    Key and McCulley and the others have political immunity they did not have pre 1984 when we still cared about a fair deal for all.

    This is what corporate control is all about and enough kiwis support it , around 44% in every poll.

  8. They got away with it because it was ” business as usual” -as Steven Joyce liked to term anything that happens during a National term of government.
    And business as usual doesn’t generally generate much comment in our MSM. They are interested in the weird, wonderful and eccentric, not the regular stuff.
    National Party bribes are business as usual so hardly anybody gives a flying f…

  9. The previous National government of 2008 through to 2017 had a cavalier attitude when it came to spending NZ taxpayers money willy-nilly on either a vanity project like the Flag Referendum. Millions spent on a mansion in Hawaii and an apartment in New York.
    National wasted NZ taxpayers money on trying to bribe and already wealthy Saudi businessman into a project that was probably doomed from the start.
    But we all know National at the time deemed themselves to be “All Knowledgeable About Everything”. I mean every time John Key appeared on the tell he came across as having an answer for everything even though time has proven what a bullshit artist he truly was and probably still is.
    And hardly any part of the National government mis-spending of NZ taxpayers received much attention from the mainstream NZ media. We can all come to the conclusion now that the mainstream NZ media i.e the tabloid NZ herald, TV3(and the Breakfast idiots Garner and Richardson)and of course the clown act of the ranting Mike Hosking will ever condemn let alone research deeply into all the mis-spendings of National over the time it was in government.
    I can only guess that for the tabloid NZ herald and the afore-mentioned ‘journos’ plus others whom I have left out of naming find it much easier to have a go at this current government whilst lacking a voice in regards to what National did.
    Either that or the NZ herald etc ‘journos’ view having to do something called “WORK”(aka research)is a four-lettered swear word to be avoided at all costs because in reality most of those in the NZ National Party pocket are lazy people.
    It’s easier for Hosking etc to mouth off about how bad this government is and yet not a peep out of them when John Key was pulling ponytails etc.
    In fact I will like to list all the nasty things John Key did and there wasn’t a peep out of the mainstream NZ media about any of it and if there was it ONLY received scant attention. A genuine mainstream NZ media would be tripping up National as well as this government. Not confirm to us all how muc they(the NZ media)are into the NZ National Party pocket.
    I hope however those here on TDB list all the nasty things John Key and National did so we can finally have a list to show everyone when some twat in National claims how wonderful that corruptive political party is.

  10. MSM conveniently forget, any scandals from the Natz or do any real analysis anymore – its all “2 Chinese are more valuable than 2 Indians” mentality to try to get international money and donations.

    NZ First is currently making daily news on RNZ that is also running a campaign to passively aggressively bring down COL and have been for the last 12+ months, where their ‘news’ has become decidedly skewed, repetitive and hysterical (running daily articles on the same issues aka get more arranged marriages into NZ, more aged migrant parents, NZ First corrupt, now in spite of 10,000,000 in public funding they are now downsizing popular concert in favour of ‘young’ ‘diverse’ music station (newsflash, youth don’t listen to radio much and those that do are already very oversubscribed with massive choices).

    It’s starting to remind us of the political canning of Campbell Live against the public opinion which has jettisoned viewers! Neoliberals favour taking out the local experienced foot soldiers like Campbell Live because they are too popular and influential, now RNZ. It’s starting to look like the cultural revolution around NZ media the last decades.

    We don’t actually have much real news in NZ, because it costs money to provide news for MSM, and in the age of the internet and it’s easier to just make up, spin the same articles, do ‘paid content’ or give ‘opinions’ that someone seems to pay for, or be clearly behind as there is a very clear agenda against COL!

  11. Here’s looking at you RNZ.
    You have turned into an untrusted source. The appointees at the top have seen to it. The Government funded public broadcaster has become a biased, anti government broadcaster! Curran, Fafoi et al, look and sound clueless. It’s very concerning. Oh wait, let’s merge with TVNZ!

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