Former ministers Phil Goff and Jim Anderton are challenging Prime Minister John Key to release any documents he has suggesting the Labour-Progressive Government considered settling a grievance with Saudi.
Mr McCully’s Cabinet paper released last week said the grievance had been a significant impediment to New Zealand’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and a free trade deal.
It notes that an initial $4 million was to recognise the ‘settlement of the long-running dispute’.
Opposition parties have called it a bribe because of statements about the obligation on the Saudi end of the deal ‘to use their best offices to connect New Zealand Government and trade interests with key government and commercial decision-makers in Saudi Arabia’.
‘There will be strong incentives for the Saudi parties to promote the ratification of the NZ [Gulf Co-operation Council] FTA …’
Mr Key’s spokeswoman said he would not release any documents but the Herald has put in requests under the Official Information Act.
Mr Little said Mr McCully had gone ‘troppo’ and Mr Key had ‘jetted’ him out of the country for three weeks to avoid answering questions.