Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Saudi sheep: Misappropriating taxpayers' money

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  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    David Shearer said on RNZ this morning that human rights concerns should not impede our trade with Saudi. Whatever happened to moral fibre? Or a relevant political opposition?

    Shearer sounds disturbingly like Margaret Thatcher in "reasonable" mode, advocating the "wisdom" of maintaining trade ties with apartheid South Africa.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Oh joy unbound!
    Mr Obama (the President of Disney land) is going to visit NZ …as a thank you for our ‘heavy lifting’ on the TPPA negotiations

    Two things come to mind:
    (i) I thought Groser was there negotiating on our behalf, not the USA’s?

    (ii) If you want to thank us, please stay away Mr Obama!
    A US president visit will cost us millions and achieve nothing except bragging rights by Key and photo ops for the ‘great and good’ – they claim a related tourism increase – the anointed will do well, everyone else will be in ‘lock down’ ...
    – heck Pandas might even be a cheaper option!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Nice to see The fashion police are out and about this summer:

    Police would like to hear from anyone who recognises the man.
    "The jeans tucked into those socks should trigger any memories," police said.
    "Even in little old Te Awamutu we are not immune from this type of offending."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/75710091/suspect-card-skimmer-sought

    oh, and this:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/75751832/tvnz-staff-told-to-look-less-glamorous
    The evolution will be televised!
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Attachment

    Tremain in the ODT.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    "The Fickle Muslim" - not likely to challenge Steve Bell's Mutton Mine for all-time greatest cartoon video game title, but very nice nonetheless :)

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    McCully has admitted that the $11.5m Saudi sheep bribe has risen by a further $280,000 to pay for a project manager for eighteen months.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    Fleece navvy dead....

    the $11.5m Saudi sheep bribe has risen by a further $280,000

    guess who's looking 'sheepish' now...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Despite John Key claimed to have "raised” the issue of human rights with the Saudi king last year, the evil Kingdom seems intent on breaking its own impressive execution records. Here’s the latest figures.

    Saudi beheadings
    2013 – 79
    2014 – 88
    2015 – 158
    2016 – 82 (so far – projected to reach 320 by year end)

    The majority of those executed have been found guilty of adultery, “sorcery” or drug receiving. Newsweek ran an interview with a Saudi executioner in 2014 – "When it comes to beheadings, ISIS has nothing over Saudi Arabia" – he gets $4,000 for every head he removes.

    The general wisdom amongst human rights groups is that the Saudis choose to execute effectively by royal command, rather than fulfilling any requirement of Sharia law. There are judges involved, but they’re mere puppets of the regime.

    “Political dissent” has joined the list of crimes requiring barbaric punishment and teenagers aren’t exempt, like this fifteen year old boy. He and his friends were accused of participating in a protest rally and tortured into making ‘confessions’. He’s still waiting on death row.

    Almost nobody has been beheaded for terrorism. The guilty are not permitted access to defense lawyers. If you don’t speak the Saudi language then bad luck… no translators are allowed. It’s a process that lacks even a cursory connection to justice.

    Remind me again why the National Government is so keen on sucking up and using taxpayer money to pay bribes to these bloodthirsty despots? Oh, that’s right. In the neoliberal fantasy world, the almighty dollar god always trumps human rights.

    Just how is that abattoir going Murray?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Attachment

    While the only sheep in this story are the increasingly blind populace of our fair isles, it fits into this thread because it involves big money, corruption and yet more McCully sleight of hand.

    Yesterday RNZ broke the story about Earl Hagman making a record $101k donation to the National Party. Then just one week later the government awarded his Scenic Hotel Group a nice little contract to manage a luxury resort in Niue. But it doesn’t end there.

    Soon afterwards, a further $7.5m of taxpayer-funded money was paid to Scenic Hotels to “upgrade” the resort. As there are only 1190 people living on Niue, that represents thousands of dollars of NZ taxpayer money for every man, woman and child living on the island. In 2006 visitors spent a total of $1.6m a year in Niue, so receiving five times that amount was quite a windfall. Except the money didn’t go into improving roading, health or education. It went straight to Scenic Hotels.

    Brian Gould dissects the deal and points out that we’re being asked to believe that despite sitting at National’s top table, McCully knew nothing of Hagaman’s donation, and that the contract was awarded by a completely “independent board"… which just happened to be selected by McCully.

    It’s not too many years since this sort of croney corruption would have caused outrage in NZ. But the Nats have softened us up to the extent that most people just go ’Baaaa!’ and move on.

    Corruption really is the new blue.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    Yesterday RNZ broke the story about Earl Hagaman making a record $101k donation to the National Party...
    But the Nats have softened us up to the extent that most people just go ’Baaaa!’ and move on.
    - Corruption really is the new blue.

    Building 'Laughter Houses' in Niue?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The Nation has an excellent report from Phil Vine on McCully's multimillion dollar Saudi sheep bribe. Producer Tim Watkin follows up on Pundit, suggesting McCully not only mislead parliament but is guilty of pulling the wool over Key's eyes as well.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    McCully's scandalous $11.5m Al Khalaf bribe is back in the news.

    Treasury documents released under the Official Information Act reveal McCully met with Al Khalaf in Riyadh in April, where he also met with the Saudi Minister of Commerce and officials and hosted a function for interested New Zealand companies.

    A spokesman for McCully's office said there was no scheduled meeting between the pair, "however the two spoke briefly at a reception and Mr Al Khalaf commented positively on the progress of the food security partnership".

    There was no scheduled meeting. The two just happened to be in the same room in Saudi Arabia at exactly the same time. What a coincidence. Not.

    The documents also reveal that Treasury was kept in the dark over the sheep bribe by McCully, and that despite he and Key repeatedly claiming the bribe was to avoid "legal action", Treasury officials could find no sign of any threatened legal action from Al Khalaf.

    In other words, the Treasury paper confirms that both Key and McCully were lying through their teeth.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The Auditor-General has released her report into McCully's dodgy Saudi sheep bribe.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    It's another one from the boilerplate, like every IPCA report.

    Question: "Did Mr X steal a car?"
    Answer: "Mr X did not commit murder."
    Headline: "Exonerated!".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1332 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Why have our Auditors become so spineless in recent years?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Last couple of paragraphs of the introduction of the AGs report:

    “My final thought relates to transparency. New Zealand has worked hard to have an ethical and transparent public sector. Accusations of corruption and bribery should be of concern to us all. During my time as Auditor-General, I have seen an increase in these accusations.

    None of my inquiries has upheld those accusations. However, complacency is not an option. We should all continue to demand transparency in how our public resources have been used and what was achieved with our money. Transparency is the best foil for corruption.”

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    Today's Tremain

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    Tomorrow's Tremain

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    And today's

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Great seeing Tremain at both top and bottom of the page. Meanwhile earnest supplicant Audrey Young has some more praise to sing about the magnificent Murray. #present

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I don't always see eye to eye with Tremain's cartoons but he does often enough hit one out of the park, and will worry an issue to death which is more than a l.ot of journalists will do these days

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Do editorial cartoons often get shared via social media?

    I used to see them lots when I read paper newspapers, but almost never now that I get most of my news online. Possibly because I do more drilling into headlines than browsing of pages, but I cannot even recall anything from Garrick Tremain or Tom Scott or the like ever showing up on my Facebook feed. Maybe it's just the friends I keep, but if social media's where so many people get their news from these days, it'd be a shame if more people are being cut off from this form of commentary.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Fran O'Sullivan fingers the PM as the person who caused offence to the Saudis, requiring Murray's chicanery to sooth them.

    This whole saga has been a convenient figleaf for a major point of contention between the Saudis and New Zealand: Prime Minister John Key's decision to abandon his leadership of a business mission to the Gulf States in April 2010 and return home. Saudi anger over what was seen as an insult to the Kingdom was conveyed to business members of the mission which continued under the substitute leadership of then Trade Minister Tim Groser.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    a convenient figleaf for

    More fodder for Tremain!

    A must see (rather than hear, as it was the usual 'let him off the hook' interview) was Our Leader's body language this morning....


    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201822764/video-john-key-responds-to-ag's-report-into-saudi-sheep-scandal

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

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