Minister welcomes release of AG report

  • Murray McCully
Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today welcomed the release of the Auditor-General’s inquiry into the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership.

“Having looked at all the relevant documentation and having spoken to all relevant parties the Auditor-General’s report states categorically that there is no evidence of bribery, corruption, or facilitation payments, as claimed by the Opposition,” Mr McCully says.

“Furthermore, the report finds that the arrangements entered into were a lawful use of public resources and public money was spent with appropriate financial authorities in place.

“The Government was faced with a situation that carried diplomatic, economic and legal risk. It required a creative solution that demonstrated good faith and a willingness to move forward to the Saudi party.

“We are confident that the Food Security Partnership is meeting its objectives and has removed a major obstacle holding New Zealand back in the Gulf, as well as opening up opportunities for New Zealand companies in the region.

“The report identifies areas for improvement in terms of transparency in the process that led to the decision to enter into the Food Security Partnership. This was a complex issue which had developed over years, and I acknowledge that greater clarity around the rationale for the Partnership could have been provided.

“The Auditor-General’s report is a considered and well-researched piece of work and I would encourage all those with an interest in the matter to read it,” Mr McCully says.