Labour and the unions

In the NZ Herald today Phil Goff says he isn’t captured by the unions:

There is a perception that Labour cares more about what teachers want than parents because you agree with teacher unions on such issues as national standards.
I’m not being directed by any bloody union – a teachers’ union or any other. In fact, the people that I quote most often are two groups. One is the principals. Because you put a principal in charge of a school because he or she has the professional capabilities and skills to run a school and to do it well. And when 98 per cent of the principals who are meeting vote no-confidence in National Party standards, you listen to them.

Of course Phil Goff forgets that the principals have their own union, the NZ Principal’s Federation, which has coordinated mass protest against government policy.

But back to his claim that he isn’t be “directed by any bloody union”…well let’s look at the facts shall we:

Those in bold have a union background.

1 Phil Goff Mt Roskill Insurance Workers Union (Organiser)
2 Annette King MP PSA Delegate
3 David Cunliffe MP MFAT PSA Union Delegate 1987-90, Convenor 1989-90
4 David Parker MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
5 Ruth Dyson MP Delegate Clerical Workers Union
6 Parekura Horomia MP Member of the Printers Union, Rep and participant for 7 years
7 Maryan Street MP Worked for PPTA and a couple of other unions (finding out which ones)
8 Clayton Cosgrove MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
9 Trevor Mallard Hutt South Secretary of King Country PPTA
10 Sue Moroney MP Union organiser; regional educator for the Trade Union Education Authority; National Secretary for the NZ Equine Workers’ Union; Journalist for the Northern Hotel, Hospital and Restaurant Workers’ Union
11 Charles Chauvel MP National Affairs Officer for the AUSA in 1987,
12 Nanaia Mahuta MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
13 Jacinda Ardern MP President of International Union of Socialist Youth 2008
14 Grant Robertson WLG Central President of Otago University Students Association; Vice President and then Co-President of the NZ University Students Association
15 Andrew Little CANDIDATE President of the NZ University Students Association and EPMU National Secretary
16 Shane Jones MP
17 Su’a William Sio MP Union official, New Zealand and Samoa trade union movement; Steering Committee Member, South Pacific Oceanic Council of Trade Unions; Union Organiser, Trade UnionEducation Authority (TUEA)
18 Darien Fenton MP Secretary of the Service & Food Workers Union 1997; Vice President NZ Council of Trade Unions 1999-2003;
19 Moana Mackey MP Worked in Trade Union movement
20 Dr Rajen Prasad MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
21 Raymond Huo MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
22 Carol Beaumont MP Joined Union at 16 and remains Union member; worked for NZ Council of Trade Unions – established organising centre in Auckland & elected secretary
23 Kelvin Davis MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
24 Carmel Sepuloni MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
25 Rick Barker MP Secretary of Service Workers Union; Executive of CTU; Delegate of ILO; Otago Hotel Workers Union
26 Deborah Mahuta-Coyle CANDIDATE Press Secretary in Labour Leader’s office (Māori advisor)
27 Stuart Nash MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
28 Clare Curran MP Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union; Service & Food Workers Union
29 Brendon Burns MP Manager, Government Communications Unit 2002-2005
30 Chris Hipkins MP President Student’s Association (Victoria University);
31 David Shearer Mt Albert NO UNION BACKGROUND
32 Michael Wood CANDIDATE Board of the Roskill Union Health Centre; FINSEC
33 Phil Twyford MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
34 Steve Chadwick MP Union Rep for the NZ Nurses association 1976-86
35 Kate Sutton CANDIDATE On the union affiliates’ wish list
36 Jerome Mika CANDIDATE EPMU
37 Iain Lees-Galloway MP President Student Association (Massey University); Worked for NZ Nurses Organisation;
38 Josie Pagani CANDIDATE On the union affiliates’ wish list
39 Lynette Stewart CANDIDATE NO UNION BACKGROUND
40 Jordan Carter CANDIDATE On the union affiliates’ wish list
41 Kris Faafoi MP NO UNION BACKGROUND
42 Christine Rose CANDIDATE On the union affiliates’ wish list
43 Glenda Alexander CANDIDATE CTU organiser in Otago
44 Susan Zhu CANDIDATE NO UNION BACKGROUND
45 Rino Tirikatene CANDIDATE NO UNION BACKGROUND
46 Sehai Orgad CANDIDATE On the union affiliates’ wish list
47 Megan Woods CANDIDATE NO UNION BACKGROUND
48 Mea’ole Keil CANDIDATE SWFU
49 David Clark CANDIDATE EPMU member since 2006 (Updated from tipline info)
50 Richard Hills CANDIDATE NO UNION BACKGROUND

In Labour’s top ten list spots 80% are from a union background. In their top 20 it is 70% from a union background, in their top 40 it is 62.5% and in their top 50 it is 58%.

Not on the list are: Ross Robertson, he was a Consultant Industrial Engineer for Auckland Tomoana Freezing Workers Union and Lianne Dalziel who was Regional Rep to the National Council of the Federation of Labour and its successor theNZCTU, 1985-90; Legal Officer and Secretary of Canterbury Hotel and Hospital Workers Union 1984-87. The other two candidates not on the list are Damien O’Connor and Louisa Wall. Wall was backed by the SWFU for the Manurewa selection.

In 2010 there were about 379,649 union members. The Department of Statistics estimates the NZ workforce is 2,350,000 unions represent about 16% of the work force in total. Most of the unionised workforce is in the public sector, so the actual number of real world workers that are members of a union is under 10%. Labour is top heavy with union hacks, or union backed candidates.

MMP is touted at delivering MPs to parliament that represent the demographic of our society. It would appear that the union movement is heavily over represented. Bear in mind that those same unions who so heavily dominate the Labour party are als the same unions that want to retain MMP. That should be a clue to all of the rest of us who aren’t in unions to Vote for Change in the referendum.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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