Saudi sheep: Greens want McCully stood down

  • 19/08/2015
Murray McCully and James Shaw (file)
Murray McCully and James Shaw (file)

Pressure is mounting on Murray McCully to stand down as Foreign Affairs Minister during an investigation into the Saudi sheep saga.

The Government watchdog has launched an inquiry into the $11 million deal, and Opposition parties are ecstatic.

Auditor-General Lyn Provost says she has many unanswered questions about the deal, which saw sheep flown to a Kiwi agrihub in Saudi Arabia.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says Mr McCully should stand down as Foreign Minister while the investigation is carried out.

"There are just holes, and that's why we're so delighted that the Auditor-General is going to be investigating. It's going to take a lot of [dishwashing liquid brand] Sunlight to disinfect this particular deal."

Prime Minister John Key says Mr McCully won't be standing down. Mr McCully himself is currently in Cambodia, and is welcoming the investigation.

Ms Provost says the inquiry will look at how much money was spent on the deal – which saw 900 pregnant ewes shipped to Saudi Arabia – what it was spent on, what was achieved and other matters.

"We're not saying that he should be sacked – we're saying he should be stood down during the course of the investigation," says Mr Shaw. "If the investigation finds nothing, then he'd be back in his role."

In addition to the Opposition, requests for an investigation have come from right-wing lobby group the Taxpayers' Union and a 10,000-strong petition from the public.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the deal "stinks to the high heaven", and Labour spokesperson David Parker said it had "many disturbing aspects".

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