The cozy relationship between Labour and MUNZ

Yesterday The Standard made a scurrilous, false and defamatory attack on me, there are 356 comments on their post accusing me of something that is an outright lie. Their intent in attacking me was made clear today with their attack on David Farrar, they think it is fair game to go after what we earn and attempt to spike it.

Mickey Savage aka Greg Presland, a key Labour person in Auckland was the first commenter on the attack on Farrar and called for him to lose all his contracts. This is how the Labour party roll. If you dare to challenge them they try to attack your sources of income, they smear, they lie and they defame.

I prefer to deal in facts when it comes to monetary arrangements. So let’s look at some facts.

The Maritime Union is an affiliate of the Labour party. The Maritime Union has made donations to Len Brown who was claimed as Labour’s Mayor of Auckland by Phil Goff. They also made a donation to Mike Lee, another long term Labour politician. The Maritime Union also registered, along with 9 other unions to lobby and support MMP, along with the Labour party. These are established and verifiable facts.

The one thing I haven’t been able to find though is a donation to Labour by the Maritime Union, but I will get to this later.

Grant Robertson though does rent an ofice in the Maritime Union building at 220 Willis Street, Wellington.

Now I checked the ownership details of this office. It is owned by the The Waterfront Workers Union according to the title, and has a rateable value of $4.1 million. The Waterfront Workers Union was subsumed into the Maritime Union of New Zealand in 2002 when they merged with the NZ Seafarers Union.

This means that Parliamentary Services is funneling rents from Grant Robertson’s Labour party branded office into the coffers the Maritime Union. But it is much worse than that. If you look on Google Street view for that address, you can see that the office used to be Marion Hobbs office so the rort has been going on for longer than just Grant Robertson.

This raises a number of questions:

  1. Is Parliamentary Services paying market rents for the office in central Wellington?
  2. If yes, then has the difference between what Parliamentary Services has been paid and the real commercial market rent for the premises been declared as a donation to the Labour party?

Donations in excess of $20,000 per annum from the same donor must be declared to the Electoral Commission. That is is just $385 per week. It is highly likely that given the floor area of this office that the normal commercial rents for an office in Willis Street would exceed the limits of Parliamentary services and by more than $288 per week. The differential must be declared as a donation. If that is the case then the sweetheart deal both the union and the Labour party have going may well be illegal as well.

There are no such donations recorded with the Electoral Commission.

I’d be interested to know what the going rate is per square metre in that building…shouldn’t be hard to find out there are offices for lease from the look of the photo.

UPDATE: There is a set of accounts for the Maritime Union available at the Incorporated Societies register. According to the latest available (2009) accounts the Maritime Union received rent (presumably net of GST) to the tune of $285k for that building.

As to who pays this rent and what each tenant is charged? Your guess is as good as mine .

UPDATE 2: via the tipline, Check the following independent research PDF prepared by CBRE.  This article states that secondary CBD office space in Wellington will go for somewhere around $127 psm.  Even if the office was prime (which is obviously isn’t) it would rent at $266 psm.

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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.