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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  • Mark

    Retail space is at a very different rate than office space. Further down Willis St it would range from $1000 – $2000+ m2 p.a., I’m guessing this far up probably more like $500m2. Again a very rough guess he’s got 50m2 so that would be $25k p.a.

  • Orange

    You can get away with saying some pretty silly stuff about other people in the States, but if you go anywhere even remotely near attacking their ability to earn it suddenly bumps up to federal offence level I believe. ie, If Presland was to do the same thing in the States it would be a one way ticket to prison no questions asked. They take it that seriously.

  • Dave

    Sue the cunts whale.  They’re cowards.

  • Hakim of Phut

    What are you thinking Whale?
    “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”

    A bit of a stretch dont you think ?.  Consider that John Keys electorate office  is rented  from … John Key. As well all know  he is ‘closely linked’ to the National Party , even closer than an affiliate union

    • Guest

      Hakim, John Key is hardly conflicted. He’s the purest form of donor – the self. 

    • Good point. I asked John Key about this. He actually loses money and rents the office to parliamentary services at a discount rate. 

  • Vlad

    Your blog posts real questions that demand real & honest answers.  Although you have a POV, of course, this kind of enquiry is in the interests of democratic transparency.  A difference between this & the ad hominen bile of other sites.  

  • Notrotsky

    Hooray what a way to start the year a full on blog war between Whale, Cactus and The Penguin vs The Lapbloggers.

    Reminds me of the Southpark episode where they were all morphed into Manga characters

    • It’s not actually a war; more like an ambush. The Lapbloggers never knew what hit them.

  • Blair Mulholland

    The practice of laundering money to political parties and other organisations through electorate offices has to end.  Parliamentary Services needs to buy up 70 offices (with a handful more for large electorates and list MPs) throughout the country and simply let that be the local MP’s office no matter who is elected.

    • Notrotsky

      Yet more taxpayer funds pissed up against the wall.

    • Vlad

      This has the merit of transparency, but on the other hand why should we the taxpayers cough up more?  Publication of this and other buried contributions should be routinely captured and  made available to the voters.

      • Blair Mulholland

        The taxpayer will not be coughing up more, they will be coughing up less.  Owning eighty-odd offices around the country would cost the government a lot less in the long run than persisting in paying rent on over 100 offices, as they do now.

      • Vinsen

        We’re already coughing up the rents; we may as well own the property, and ensure transparency and accountability.

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff WO. Hopefully this’ll make Parsloe’s sphincter twitch a bit.  

  • Sars

    As per published accounts from 2009 (I tried to link but it failed…have sent the file to WO) the rent received (presumably net of GST) was $285k.

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

    You can find the Maritime Union of New Zealand Incorporated on the Incorporated Societies website.

  • notavictim

    Keep on them mate.

  • Michael

    This is common practice for everyone.  Nick Smith owns his office, as does (as previously noted) John Key.  Trevor Mallard’s Petone office is in a building owned by the Firefighters Union (from recollection) so I am sure this is common practice.  Parliament should change the rule so offices can’t be rented from MPs, Political Parties, Affilated groups (like Unions, Trusts, or party officials), or party donors.

    And also mean that any party offices are not in the same building/complex as a taxpayer funded office.

    • No issue from me with that. Enriching yourself as an MP through capital gain while the raw costs are covered by the taxpayer really sticks in my craw.

    • Anonymous

      Hopefully Parliamentary Services requires a rental valuation from an approved valuer when such an office is rented. It then does not matter whether the MP, a union, etc owns the building. In Nick Smith’s case AFAIK he has space in the building he makes available for community purposes and he would get no rent for that.

  • Just going a tad off topic   I see talks between POAL and MUNZ failed again

  • Dion

    > If you dare to challenge them they try to attack your sources of income

    Hardly surprising given that their ideology is based on the delusion that one’s income belongs to “the people”.

  • Wetfootmammal

    “Yesterday The Standard made a scurrilous, false and defamatory attack”

    Yeah poor form. They’re descending in to Cameron Slater territory there.


       One of the standard tame trolls is over for a visit.

    • Super Guest

      Oh, yeah, like when Cam called Kris Fa’afoi on his McDonalds bullshit right? It’s clearly getting to you lefties this whole business with the commies on the docks. We haven’t had this many mouth breathers over for a long time. I guess you’re starting to realise what a waste of time and money these stevedores are, but can’t break yourself away from the 1935 Polish shipyard politics (essentially: unions > food) that’s infected the modern left, so you just make mindless attacks. Except, on the right you’re free to make them, unlike on the left.

  • Notrotsky

    MUNZ have utterly jumped the Shark and are flailing around desperately.

    The document they have linked to is the most laughable ‘evidence’ I’ve seen since Greg Presland’s last post at the Lapblog.

  • Wetfootmammal

    Notrotsky – Rodney Hide hand picked the board. Is there any surprise they would want the workforce de-unionised and casualised? Collective bargaining is like cancer to their bones. They can’t stand it.

    • joe bloggs

      Yer mum know you’re up so late?

      • Wetfootmammal


      • Anonymous

        that’ll be a no joe.

      • And using rude words

    • Notrotsky

      I don’t think POAL has any problem with collective bargaining, I’m pretty sure MUNZ do however, as their members will find out to the own detriment as their jobs disappear over the next couple of months.

      As for you supposition that Rodders handpicked the board – do you have any proof of that if so looks like he did an ok job.

      • A-random-reader

        Rodney was involved in picking the board for ACIL (the Council holding company that manages the POAL shareholding on behalf of the Council) but he didn’t pick the board for POAL.

    • Snore
      You are bore-ing me silly worse than Kosh103 and WillSommers10-what ever
      Put it this way – I am holding rather dim light of MUNZ right now and at times it makes me wonder why I am in a union…

    • EX Navy Greg

      Wetfootmammal = duck, is that you Trevor ?

      • Trevor uses his own email address

    • Super Guest

      Uhhhh, good? I’d rather take my own livelihood in my own hands than rely on a bunch of socialists to do it for me. Any self respecting man would do the same. It’s not hard to negotiate a pay raise if you’ve got a) skills and b) intelligence. The warfies have neither so they rely on the unions.

  • Pete

    Looks like MUNZ had 600k to 1 Million invested in SCF when it finally died…. Pretty sure the Standard line is that it was the rich who got bailed out. Guess those workers are rich then. 

    • Quackeroo

      Are you taking the piss if not please, please, please post proof so I can troll it over to The Standard.

      • Michael

        Have a read of the financial accounts, it shows interest of $97k from SCF – depending on the interest rate you can get a rough figure – at 10% that’s about $1m.

        Another interesting thing is the amount of levies collected from Tauranga (shown as Mt Maunganui where the port is) is $0.

        And finally the donations had a big jump (about $12k) from the year ended 31 Mar 2008 to the year 31 Mar 2009.  Wonder if $9,999 was donated to Labour that year?

      • Pete

        See page 12 of the accounts (under ‘Investments’) linked in the post above. They had 3 deposits – 250k maturing 06/11, 345k maturing 03/12 and 400k maturing 03/10. They also had preference shares worth 50k. Obviously the first two deposits would have been caught up with everything, the third (400k) would depend on whether they reinvested it with SCF, or took their money elsewhere. 

        I’m assuming they would have got nothing for the shares. 

      • EX Navy Greg

        Pete, They almost certainly would have rolled over the term deposit ( the last one ) on maturity, no need to return it to the current account when you have a substantial income stream from the Numpty union members, Your thoughts Sars ?

      • Pete

        Oh another thing, 2.4 million in investments, 1 million in a single asset = astoundingly bad portfolio allocation. I wonder if they know what diversification means…. 

      • Anonymous

        I agree, SCF had the highest interest rates right up until their collapse – the Union would have just simply rolled the investment over and would have been caught in the ensuing shit storm

        I wondered that too when I read through the accounts – almost half your asset base in a high yield high risk investment, especially after all the other finance companies had collapsed? Lazy investment strategy – just because your on the left doesn’t mean you have to be financially ignorant. They seem to think if they know anything about investments and finance their ‘comrades’ will condemn them as decadent capitalist pigs.  

  • Phar Lap

    Sounds like a legal brothel,for people of the same persuasion.Hands knees and bums a daisy.

  • jay cee

    ok, so theres a building in wellington owned by munz as your photo shows that the labour party rents space out of,how do we know? the  building has the words maritime union on it and the labour party colours and picture of grant robertson on it. looks pretty transparent to me. shock horror the union is an affiliate of the labour party! funny but it thought i was the unions that set up that party. still if  the the taxpayer is being ripped of like they were by double dipton bill english it will be good to know

    • Michael

      I object to taxpayer funding going into the coffers of those ‘inside the beltway’. It’s not desirable to have these types of back scratching deals going on as it promotes a view that a low level of corruption is okay as long as the deal is commercially comparable.

      Yes, that means MPs like John Key and Nick Smith as well having to stop using there own buildings – but if they really are commercial operations then finding a new tenant shouldn’t be hard.

  • Wetfootmammal

    Here’s the other half of the story that Whaleoil knows about, but wont tell you.

    • EX Navy Greg

      Written by the utterly discredited Matt McCarten, who still owes the taxpayer how much ?

      • Wetfootmammal

        So an adhom argument is the best you can muster. In debating circles that’s a concession of failure.

      • Super Guest

        That’d be $150,000, Greg. Let me repeat that, the career socialist, who becomes engorged at the though of a 90% top tax rate owes the NZ public $150,000. It goes to show that most socialists are more interested in punishing success they’re incapable of than the “worker”, whatever that means.

      • EX Navy Greg

        If Matt McCarten was any pinker he would fold inside out through his own arsehole and end up looking like a red back spider.
        IF what he is saying is correct, that would mean POA would be operating pretty much the same as other, competetive ports in NZ, and what’s wrong with that ?

    • Quackeroo

      I wonder which of the Standard trolls you are ?

    • Written by a tax cheat…yeah real reputable. Worse a tax cheat who stole his workers PAYE payments…how about that a union ripping off their workers.

  • Wetfootmammal

    “Third, what hasn’t been spelled out is that Gibson from the start
    demanded fulltime employees become on-call casuals and agree to daily
    shifts between two and 12 hours”

    This is the crux of it. The management want the workers to be at their beck and call 24/7. They will be no better than serfs, owned by the management.

    • Super Guest

      My heart bleeds for the poor, poor, lazy ass, very well paid stevedores.

    • Notrotsky

      Bullshit, with modern technology POAL know when boats will be coming into port and how many containers need to be loaded and unloaded, this is proven by wishing to organise shifts a month in advance. MUNZ wants to continue to exploit a contract which will have the Aucklan port fucked in less than decade great for port of Tauranga bad for POAL and the ratepayers.

      • Wetfootmammal

        Notrosky – the management want the workers to be on call. Do you know what that means?

      • EX Navy Greg

        Wetfootmammal, I can operate a crane, forklift and have licences 1,2,3,4,6,F,D,R,W.
        If POAL wants to offer me a few hours or more a day at $ 27 p.h. I will operate my business around that. They have very clearly said to the union , YOU pick what hours you want , one month in advance.

      • Super Guest

        @ Wetfootmammal

        Yeah, it means they still won’t be working %1 as hard as first year doctor and still make more money.

    • Jimmie

      duh its called employment – what you think the overpaid underworked layabouts called stevedores should be calling the shots? 

      Hmm do ya reckon there is a reason why all the MUNZ members I have seen photos of are grossly overweight? No danger of starvation there

  • Nick K

    Yep, it means the phone rings and they ask you to work.  And you say you can’t.  And you don’t get paid.  But if you want to eqarn money and pay some bills, and maybe buy your kids some nice stuff you work.  Like everyone else has to.  WORK isn’t a swear word.

    • Wetfootmammal

      No nick – it means phone rings and you have to go to work otherwise you face the possibility of losing you livelihood. It’s called a Clayton’s choice.

      • Super Guest

        Pretty sure it’s a Hobson’s choice, you clod, and anyway if most people don’t go to work they get fired. That’s life, you shouldn’t get paid not to go to work. If the job requires you to be on call, then you’re on call. They’re already overpaid and underworked, now they want to get paid to not do their jobs when they need to be done? Fuck em. Like I said before a first year doctor does the exact same thing only they’re saving lives not shifting things around. A doctor could be a warfie, easily. A warfie couldn’t even fill out a prescription pad without resorting to crayon.

      • James

        Its called a fucking work life you moaning,”entitled” douche….don’t like how it currently is…? get off of you arse and change it.Fucking people who want the rest of the world to run by their whims and wishes….pricks.

      • Jam_Sammie


  • Wetfootmammal

    “duh its called employment” – actually it’s called not being able to plan your life. You lose your life to your employer. This is what the workers are fighting against. A totalitarian right-wing doctrine.

    • Super Guest

      Please, please, never leave. You’re bleeding heart 70s sanctimony is too amusing. “A totalitarian right-wing doctrine”. Y’know what’s totalitarian? No secret ballots in elections so that dissenters can be bullied and harassed into falling in line, or rather so that the threat of it keeps anyone from questioning the orthodoxy. What does a business care about people “planning their lives”? No employer does, the trade of is, “I pay you to do work for me”. That’s it. And it’s a perfectly fair trade, that’s what you guys like right? “Fair”. Besides, surely they knew that soon the other shoe was gonna drop and people would call them on their bullshit, so hopefully they set some money aside when the contractors are called in to do the $90k a year 28hr work week, because it’s hard finding a job when you can’t do anything but piss and moan to the union. Oh, shit, here comes the next batch of Labour MPs, ugly women are about to be replaced by fat men…


  • Agent BallSack

    The building needs the aluminium flashing replaced on the windows. Unfortunately Aluminium Smelter workers have been striking for 4 years….hypothetically.

  • Wetfootmammal

    @ EX Navy Greg, if that’s the case then there’s no need for the workers to be on-call and casualised.

    • EX Navy Greg

      Please post here the offer from PAOL to the union,I don’t have it, you obviously do. I wait to be stood corrected.

      • Wetfootmammal

        See comment below.

      • EX Navy Greg

        I was asking politely for you to “put up or shut up” you couldn’t do the former, time you did the latter.

  • Wetfootmammal

    Anyhow – a standard deunionisation tactic is to offer up calualised contracts on decent conditions, then slash the conditions and wage rates once everyone is de-unionised. You rightists want all workers to be naive imbeciles. Evil pricks.

    • Thorn

      Wetdreamjism, employers hire workers to work hard and smart, and do what they are told to do. Are there any left-wing employers who expect anything different?

      • Euan Rt

        And herein lies Labour’s problem, there are very few left-wing employers and yet they keep talking about job creation. The only jobs Labour could create are govt funded. As such they will never generate wealth for the country. They have got to realise that it is imperative that they promote and support business, both large and small.

  • Wetfootmammal

    “I pay you to do work for me” face/palm

    Misses the point totally, and most likely willfully.

  • Wetfootmammal

    “No secret ballots in elections so that dissenters can be bullied and
    harassed into falling in line, or rather so that the threat of it keeps
    anyone from questioning the orthodoxy.”


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