The dodgy Meatworkers Union has finally filed their accounts, and as Rodney Hide finds they are still dodgy.
I fear the registrar of Incorporated Societies is getting sick of me. I have had to write to him again.
Regular readers will recall Neville Harris and I have had quite the correspondence over the past year. The issue is the New Zealand Meatworkers’ Union not filing its branch accounts as required by law.
The union has been getting away with just filing head office accounts when all the financial action is in the branches.
Anyway, Mr Harris got on their case and after much to-ing and fro-ing the union filed consolidated accounts as required. All to the good. But then I decided to take a look.
Sacré bleu! Still not right. The accounts are so qualified that we can’t take much from them. There certainly are apparent irregularities.
Member should be concerned about the flagrant breaches of accounting practice going on at the Meatworkers. Why they are still a registered union is beyond me. Same goes for Unite union which still hasn’t filed years worth of accounts.
I consulted with high-powered accounting types. They were horrified by the accounts. I talked to legal beagles. Nope. The Meatworkers’ Union accounts still don’t comply.
The law requires, among other things, that “Every [incorporated] society shall deliver annually to the Registrar, in such form and at such time as he requires, a statement containing the … income and expenditure of the society during the society’s last financial year”.
That’s straightforward enough. Especially now that we have established that union accounts must include branches.
But what do we find? The accounts are all qualified, and to such an extent they are meaningless.
Wait till you hear about their poor recording of cash.
First, the auditor qualifies each year from 2005-11, declaring “control over cash receipts prior to being recorded is limited and there are no practical audit procedures to determine the effect of this limited control”.
But what cash receipts are we talking about?
The receipts of the society include members’ subscriptions income, interest income, rental income and sundry income.
With the exception of sundry income, the auditor should have been able to obtain appropriate information over the completeness of the first three categories. The failure to do so means the union has failed to provide a statement of the union’s income and expenditure as required.
Still more to come…
The auditor’s report on the financial statements for the years 2006-10 is qualified because “the Otago Southland branch auditors have not been able to locate their audit files”. The same qualification is made for the same reason for the Aotearoa branch in 2007.
The 2009 audit report contains a qualification that the auditor was unable to find any records or evidence supporting the dissolution and distribution of Waitotara sub-banch funds back to its membership.
My high-powered counters of beans opined politely: “It is an unusual set of circumstances that would give rise to neither the branches themselves nor their auditor having any records that could have been used by the auditor for the purposes of auditing the union.” Indeed.
The unions and their Labour pals like to talk about shonky deals…well they should look rather closely at the shonky deals and book-keeping going on inside our unions. This is members money we are talking about.
While Helen Kelly is trotting around the countryside organising major union opposition to minor law changes by National perhaps she could also sort out the dodgy unions and their dodgy accounts.
I think if we had a proper regulatory authority like an Independent Commission Against Corruption like they have in Australia we might well see the NZ version of union and ALP scams appearing here. Currently it seems the light hand of union regulation is producing some pretty dodgy behaviour.