Labour’s deep history is wedded with the union movement, but it is a history that they need to put behind them in order to advance.
It hasn’t helped that the unions shoe-horned their master into the leadership when Andrew Little won the leadership race.
Labour parties the world over are struggling with their union backers.
In Australia there is a long line up of union officials, former union officials who are now MPs and Labor MPs funded and backed by the unions being paraded before various Independent Commissions Against Corruption.
In the UK Unite union is the king-maker and essentially owns the Labour party through their massive multi-million pound donations.
In New Zealand Labour’s biggest donors are the unions, kicking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in members cash, time and manpower to assist Labour. The NZ Dairy Workers union kicked in $40,000 before the election last year. The EPMU (Andrew Little’s union) tipped in $60,000 in July 2014. These are small numbers when compared to the UK but they are Labour’s largest declared donors.
So, why would I say that Labour should distance themselves from the unions?
Well, because the latest UMR (Labour’s own pollster) mood of the nation report shows that unions are not well-loved.