A taxpayer grant of $11 million to farm wagyu cattle will benefit an overseas businessman at the centre of the Saudi farm controversy.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully has come under intense pressure over his support for a deal which saw about $11.5 million spent on Hamood Al Ali Khalaf’s farm in Saudi Arabia.
The Herald can reveal a business part-owned by Mr Al Khalaf is part of a separate venture receiving millions in taxpayer money to export grass-fed wagyu beef – including to the Middle East.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has put up $11 million and partnered with Brownrigg Agriculture and Firstlight Foods on the plan.
The money will be spent over seven years with the aim of selling New Zealand grass-fed wagyu beef overseas – through a new company, Grass-fed Wagyu.
The project began in 2012 and $2.3 million of the grant has been used so far.
(ed:..bloody hell..!..this saudi-businessman has this govt. well and truly in his pocket..eh..?)