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Thousands of sheep owned by compensated Saudi farmer died on ship

ONE News can exclusively reveal the Saudi businessman given $6 million worth of farm equipment by the Government has a massive animal rights blemish to his name.

Thousands of sheep owned by the man compensated by the New Zealand Government died on a ship bound for Saudi Arabia. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand banned the export of live sheep after 5000 died on a ship. Those sheep belonged to Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf.

The Prime Minister says he was only made aware of this fact today.

New Zealand has compensated Al Khalaf, according to his business partner George Assaf, because the pair were upset at losing hundreds of millions of dollars in earnings when New Zealand banned live sheep exports.

The ban was put in place because of the sheep that died in Al Khalaf's shipment.

"If this is the man who was behind the lamb deaths that led to the ban on live sheep in the first place then John Key and Tim Groser have just made fools of themselves at the taxpayer's expense," says Labour's Trade spokesman David Parker.

The Prime Minister might not have known the history but someone in Government did.

Murray McCully's office told ONE News the deaths on board the ship were "one of the reasons" the sheep sent last year "were transported by plane".

So now that he knows the history, is the Prime Minister happy with the $6 million he insists wasn't compensation?

"Well I'm happy that an agri-business hub has been established in Saudi Arabia," he says.