No one has more respect for women than Paul Henry.
We are not amused.
Neither are we.
THE AUDITOR GENERAL
This is not a simple story. To understand the arrangements that Trade Minister Murray McCully entered into as part of the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership, it is important to outline Paul Henry's background.
This includes the history of Saudi Arabian investment in New Zealand farming, and the role that Paul Henry occupies in public life.
The background also includes the effect of these issues on the negotiation of a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia. These factors combine to create a complex picture of trade interests, and economic interests, and it also creates a complex picture of Paul Henry, who is extremely interesting.
It is not within my legal mandate to comment on or criticise the Government's trade, diplomatic, or animal welfare policy decisions, but like everyone I have an opinion on Paul Henry, because the fact that he made some comments in a newspaper interview is an issue which affects us all.
It has been recommended to me that this report should only be a preliminary investigation into Paul Henry, and that the matter should subsequently become the subject of a Royal Commission of Inquiry. I find there are firm grounds for this suggestion.
We need to have a national conversation about Paul Henry. I mean I know we're already having it but it'd be good to keep it going.
But getting back to Murray McCully, and this minor, petty business to do with his decision to send 900 sheep to Saudi Arabia, our report considers whether:
• Murray McCully is a mass murderer
• Murray McCully is Paul Henry
We conclude that thankfully neither of these is the case.
I have no comment to make about Paul Henry at this time but here's a joke, hope you like it!
A sheep walks into a baaa.
Well I think at the end of the day he'll be a little bit disappointed with himself.
I suspect he'll be sitting back reflecting on the fact that he's let himself down, and frankly he's embarrassed himself a bit.
He's clearly let himself and those who are close to him down.
I think there's no question about that. And he'll have to reflect on that, and I'm sure the New Zealand Rugby Football Union will reflect on that.
Hang on - we are talking about Aaron Smith, right?
As I bow out of New Zealand politics, and take my leave from the stage of national affairs, I'd like to reach out to Paul Henry and offer him some advice and perhaps some wisdom that I have gained in my fruitful years in public service.
I can be contacted c/- The Log of Doom on a Herne Bay beach.
I am pleased to announce the formation of a new political party: The Opportunities Party.
People come up on the street and say, "Gareth, we need you to talk long and loud in that aggravatingly nasal voice of yours, like that time you made a generous offer to buy that private beach in Abel Tasman even though it completely missed the point.
But can you possibly find the time to make your opinions heard, constantly, and at length?"
And I say to them, "You have my promise that I will release an unstoppable torrent of opinion, comment, blather, tell-it-like-it-is declarations, withering asides, and various assorted half-baked notions that pop into my head as and when."
And they say to me, "Hang on - are you Paul Henry?"