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NZ Report to Australia’s FiveAA.com.au – Dodgy Sheep Farm Deals To Saudi Arabia + PM Cuddles The Cat – This week Selwyn Manning talks to Dave Penberthy, Jane Reilly and Mark Aiston about the weird NZ Govt/Saudi Arabia Demo-Farm Deal + The PM delivers a ‘stuff the native birds let’s cuddle the cat’ styled message. Recorded live on 5/06/15. ITEM ONE: New Zealand’s Foreign Minister is under political pressure after failing to explain the mystery of why the Government paid millions of dollars to a well-connected Saudi businessman. Foreign Minister Murray McCully sought approval and was granted $11.5 million from Cabinet to set up a NZ-styled sheep farm in Saudi Arabia. The weird farm package included the export of 1000 sheep, machinery, animal management plans, basically everything you could expect to see on a high-tech and efficient New Zealand sheep station. Details of the Cabinet decision came to light after media investigations suggested the Saudi sheep farm was set up to shut up a rich and well-connected Saudi businessman called Al Ali Al Khalaf. According to the Foreign Minister McCully the Saudi businessman had lost money in a sheep meat venture after New Zealand cut back and ceased live exports of sheep to the Middle East. McCully said the Saudi sheep farm deal was to appease the Saudi businessman so he would ditch plans to sue New Zealand of between $20 to $30 million. But that excuse lost credibility after media discovered the Saudi businessman’s legal action had been withdrawn one year earlier. Now the Government suggests the Saudi sheep farm deal was money well spent, as it would improve New Zealand’s chances of striking a Free Trade deal with the Saudi Government. McCully’s political opponents say the Saudi Sheep Farm deal was simply some sort of bribe. The Government doesn’t actually deny this but suggests enticements are helpful especially if they assist our diplomats to strike up trade deals. ITEM TWO: When your Government’s credibility is under threat, who do you call? Well if you are the Prime Minister, it’s the SPCA. (Ref. NZHerald.) Former broadcaster and current Conservation Minister, Maggie Barry, this week criticised the SPCA for spaying feral cats and releasing them back into the wild. As she pointed out, feral cats are responsible for killing thousands of protected native birds every year. Maggie Barry suggested the SPCA should euthanise feral cats and that a one cat per household rule should be applied. But the Prime Minister said his Government would not support his minister’s view. Rather, in one of his typical cheesy moments, John Key said he would advise his own cat Moonbeam not to go near the SPCA in case it went ahead with her instructions. These are odd and dodgy times indeed. New Zealand Report is broadcast live on Fridays on FiveAA.com.au and webcasts on EveningReport.nz, LiveNews.co.nz and ForeignAffairs.co.nz.]]>



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