Tuesday, November 20, 2007

ZenTiger Unions Electioneering

Unions receive money directly (and indirectly) from the government. They also donate money to the Labour party. Effectively, the Government pays for their electioneering using our tax dollars.

They have affiliations to maximize their political impact. They have many staffers that go on to become politicians. No surprises so far.

In their submission on the Electoral Finance Bill, the CTU wanted the $60,000 cap on election spending raised to $100,000. Perhaps that gives one an idea of their budget?

They also asked to limit this amount to external costs. Using staff and members to print and distribute material (free labour) should not be counted, especially in 'market rate' terms. A critical point was also to lobby to make sure 'communications' to members were not treated as political advertising. Last election, at least two unions were dobbed in for leaving these 'communications' in public places (reception desks etc). Within the news letter, they ask for members to distribute their election advertising to as many non-members as possible. Here is a sample of a member communication:
PSA Special Edition

Last month I took great pride in presenting, at the PSA Te P¯ukenga Here Tikanga Mahi 2005 annual general meeting, my first annual report since I was elected President.

It is a report that brims with the union’s achievements over the last year. It is a report that is real evidence of a union that is strong and active, and has been growing since 2000 - and one which we believe is making a real difference to the working lives of our 50,000 members.

It is also a report offering tangible proof that our strategy is successful. It must be acknowledged and recorded that the results we have achieved, and the plans we have for the future, would not be possible without the political environment that recognises unions and the contribution we make, and the agreements we have signed both with the Labour-led governments and with many individual public sector employers.

Those attending the July AGM also spent some time discussing next month’s general election, which is a crucial one for all of us. As you know, PSA has been proactive in collating and analysing the policies of the various political parties and making judgements about which ones we believe are in the best interests of members, the union movement, and New Zealand as a whole.

This special edition of the Journal is dedicated to election issues. PSA has a duty, on your behalf, to encourage and actively seek the election of a government that values quality public services and recognises the role of unions as social partners. The stories and information contained in the following pages aim to inform, and assist those reading them with their voting decision on September 17.

Your executive board is clear about their choice and made a decision some time ago to work at influencing opinion so as to return a Labour-led government. The differences in party policies relating to the public sector are stark – Labour’s continuation of investment in and rebuilding of public services, or National’s job and funding cuts and the reinstatement of industrial law akin to the Employment Contracts Act. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how the choice could be made any more clear.

We are providing extra copies of this Journal special. We would like delegates and members to distribute them as widely as possible, including to non-union colleagues. The more information they have – particularly in relation to the differences between the party policies around public services – the clearer their choice at the election.

At the same time, ask them if they would like to join the PSA – the bigger we are, the stronger we are.

Finally, if you know of anyone who is not enrolled to vote, strongly encourage them to do so and steer them towards the Electoral Enrolment Centre, www.elections.org.nz or phone 0800 36 76 56. Voting is the only way to have your say. The importance of this election result cannot be overestimated.


Keith Gutsell
President
Related Link: PSA electioneering

I don't want to regulate this any more than I wish to regulate the Exclusive Brethren publishing a brochure. But I'm not sure I want a system where tax dollars fund one, whilst denying the other the ability to spend their own money. It was never a level playing field to begin with. Any reform of Electoral Finance needs to be a wide ranging look at the total picture, with due consideration applied.

I can accept some of the aims of the EFB, and think there may be a place for disclosure, limits on spending etcetera, but what has been proposed so far seems only half thought out. People are focusing on the content of the EFB. What is missing, is what the EFB doesn't talk about. Finding what's missing takes more time than we (the public) are being given. And it is we, the public that should have more input into the controls placed on our MPs. They are voting for themselves, not for the people they supposedly represent. The rush to implement this proves that.

Name: ZenTiger
Address: NZ Conservative (The Blog)
Declaration: I declare this is not an election advertisement and that I have received no money to state my opinion.

10 comment(s):

MK said...

That last bit about the declaration, is that for real? I saw something about this in one of KG's posts, damn Komissar Klark is a real control freak. Good heavens Kiwis, you folks gotta kick those leftists out before they drown you folks.

ZenTiger said...

This was one of the contentious issues proposed in the EFB.

Labour would like to require a name and address for every political thought published.

They've already proven cronyism by denying a job in the Public Sector to the partner of a National Party MP, and handed it over to a Labour candidate.

Tax audit anyone?

Blacklisted companies in tenders anyone?

There is no reason to think it could not get this bad. Actually, it seems that it is.

Next, the concept of anonymous votes at the booth will be deemed "sinister" and "not creating transparency".

MK said...

Thanks Zen, i guess leftists wouldn't have any problem with seeing who you vote for, as long as they can catch you on the way out and set a few examples when you don't toe the line.

KG said...

I blew the whistle during the run-up to the last elections on a clinic receptionist at Whakatane hospital handing out union "how to vote" pamphlets.
They were made to remove them from the office counter--watch for much more of the same next time.

Tane said...

Unions receive money directly (and indirectly) from the government. They also donate money to the Labour party. Effectively, the Government pays for their electioneering using our tax dollars.

This smear has been going around the blogosphere for a while now and it's interesting to see that no matter how many times I've asked for some evidence I'm yet to see a single shred.

Can you demonstrate what govt money goes to union campaign contributions? The only money unions get from the govt is from the contestable funds, which are for specific projects that fulfil dept of labour objectives, and of which Business NZ and the local EMAs are usually the largest recipients. The money could certainly not be used for electioneering as it's audited, and if you're going to cast doubt on unions you shouldn't you also ask if the govt is funding Business NZ and the EMA to make anonymous donations to National?

ZenTiger said...

Tane, I read in the paper the other day a union that received $60,000 from MSD and $20,000 from Lotteries.

Unions do get money from the Govt -FACT. The more money they get, the more money that gives them resource to "do things for their members" and raise their profile.

They in turn donate money to the NZ Labour Party, and/or donate time, effort and money to advising their members to keep NZ Labour in power.

I don't have a problem with this per se, but think that any 'widespread' reform of Election Finance should be more wide spread than has been.

Let's stop this from being smears, and in the interests of transparency, open up these accounts for deeper scrutiny.

Fine, throw in Business NZ and EMA to this discussion. This is not about me defending National, its about this so called 'level playing field' that Labour wants is in the voters best interests, not in Labours.

Tane said...

Zen, you've failed to provide any direct link between government money going to unions (or business nz or any other organisation) and money spent on electioneering.

The fact is this doesn't happen. You fell for an old chestnut put about by Murray McCully and didn't do your own research.

Come up with some solid evidence, then get back to me.

ZenTiger said...

Very funny Tane. Direct links are for the politically naive. It's indirect links where all the action happens.

Next you'll be denying that Unions spend NO money or resources on supporting the NZ Labour party.

Robinsod said...

Zen - business gets a lot more money from Govt than unions do and many of those businesses donate to National and Labour.

Business does get money from the Govt -FACT. The more money they get, the more money that gives them resource to "do things for their shareholders". They also contribute to political parties. Are you saying the govt is using business to channel funds into national's coffers? Stop the press!

ZenTiger said...

Robinsod, I have no need to say that. This is what the left bleat on about every day. They go quiet about the Union involvement though.

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