What follows is a transcript of a brief press conference given at parliament earlier today by the Rt. Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of the Dark Arts and Brown Envelopes Bulging with Cash.
MURRAY MCCULLY (entering, walks up to podium, stands on strategically placed beer crate): Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for coming. I’ve called this press conference to just clear up a few things regarding our investment in a random agricultural hub in the middle of the Arabian desert. Firstly I’d like to read from a brief statement, then I’ll take some questions from the floor. Ahem…
This week the government announced an exciting venture where we plan to ship an abattoir from New Zealand to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a very exciting venture because, as everybody knows, sheep can’t survive in the desert, so having somewhere to turn them into prime export cuts is a very exciting venture. This abattoir will be paid for by the New Zealand taxpayer and goes some way to fulfilling our obligations under the Middle East Free Trade Agreement, or MEFTA, that we haven’t been able to get them to sign yet. We hope to get this packed into crates and on a plane by the end of the week. Thank you. Any questions?
VANCE, TVNZ: Is this just a bribe to try to get them to sign MEFTA (mumbles to self: MEFTA sounds ridiculous)?
MCCULLY (looking down and to the side): Absolutely not. This isn’t a bribe. A bribe is when you pay someone money to do something. There is no money being paid here. Only a building. A building paid for with money. Come on, you can’t bribe anyone with a building.
VANCE: Once you give them the building, are you hoping they will sign MEFTA?
MCCULLY: That’s why we’re giving them the building.
CAMPBELL, RNZ NATIONAL: Are you concerned that this money is benefiting a regime that’s just killed nearly 50 people who oppose that regime?
MCCULLY: Oh look, we are not giving this abattoir to Saudi Arabia, we are giving it to the businessman who owns the farm.
CAMPBELL: Yes, but in Saudi Arabia, nobody is allowed to do own anything like an abattoir or large farm. It just becomes assets of the Saudi royal family – the same family that put to death all those people just before Christmas.
MCCULLY: But we are bribing the grumpy businessman with this meat-works, not the Saudi Royal family. Haven’t you read the ministry papers?
GOWER, NewShub: Is there anything else you are giving the Saudis?
MCCULLY: No. Absolutely not. We have no plans to give them anything else other than the abattoir. There is absolutely no bundles of American dollars that might fall out of the containers when they are opened on the other side. No. Nothing else.
GOWER: Are you concerned this will make New Zealand look like just another corrupt regime willing to do business with anyone at any cost?
MCCULLY: Look. The National Party of New Zealand prides itself on the unique way I like to do business. Sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves, reach into the wrong end of the cow and pull out some policy that just looks so very terrible and smells even worse. Ultimately, John Key is the PM. He’s told New Zealanders he been known to take a whazz in the shower. If they don’t care about that, I don’t think they’re going to care about a few million dollars spent to get a free trade deal with a country that murders members of the opposition.
Ok… so if there’s nothing else I need to whip across to the Reserve Bank and sort out some non-sequential bills. Good afternoon.
Jumps off beer crate and exits through side door.