Shining Light into Dark Corners – Union Finances

The Union movement have taken a beating lately.

The Ports of Auckland dispute has shown the New Zealand public are not in favour of three hundred sexist, racistbullying, lazy bastards earning $91,000 per annum for 26 hours a week actual work. They are dying in a ditch in a fight that they were always going to lose because of their inflexible, cloth cap socialist thinking.

What is even worse is the tip line has been running hot with lots of stories about dodgy financial practices in unions, as well as the usual bullying, holier than thou attitude and low bastardry that we have all come to expect from unions.

In the next few weeks I will be looking into some of the dark corners where unions have been hiding, and asking some difficult questions about their finances.

Many of the fiddles are fairly standard plays, and unlike Australia there is no regulating authority to look into financial practices and intimidation carried out by unions.

At the end of this expose I think we are going to need to emulate the Aussies and bring in the regulators to look very closely at the unions and their dodgy financial practices.

 


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  • johnbronkhorst

    This has been an “open secret” for decades. ie Everyone has known the unions are dishonest, but nobody dared expose them…they are the biggest racket going. Go for WO. Also look at their taxes…the joke is they claim the “rich” don’t pay tax…when, I have a suspision, it is the unions who don’t pay tax.

    • Mike Smith

       “Everyone has known the unions are dishonest, but nobody dared expose them…they are the biggest racket going”

      Example/evidence?

      • Phar Lap

        Check out IRD v UNITED.!

      • Owl

        As long as all information is a) in the public domain and b) factual, then this is going to be fascinating reading.

      • Gazzaw

        Mike, evidently you’ve only been here a short time. Unions in NZ have been immersed in ‘sus’ political & financial practises for generations & overdue for regulation. Give WO the opportunity to expose some specifics. 

      • johnbronkhorst

        lets see…mike…..from PERSONAL experience…..when union membership was compulsory….(I quit the minute it was volutary)….Holding meetings at times that members couldn’t get to, Holding meeting at places members couldn’t get to, falsifying minutes of meetings, holding meetings with less than a quarum and changing the quarum numbers to pass what they wanted, telling members of meetings after they had been held, refusing REPEATED requests for the summary of accounts (and yet members noticing that all union headoffice staff had new cars), using union head office staf,vehicles and assets to campaign for the labour party without asking the membership first if they could (afterall this is NOT a spend directly related to members benefit)……to give you the full list of corrupt practices, would require a BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Bunswalla

        Everyone, please calm down and stop attacking Mike. You must remember he is an ex-banker, so his standards of what constitutes dishonesty and a racket are so very different from yours and mine.

      • Vij

        So true 
        Bunswalla.  That is why Mike is an ex-banker!!!!

      • Light

        At the moment MUNZ are paying their workers “financial aid”.  If they attend the picket line they get $300 a week.  The men who are on strike but getting paid by MUNZ are presumably NOT paying tax on their $300 allowance.  How is MUNZ declaring it, distributing it?  They’re dipping into their coffers and asking for donations from the public and then doling it out but is it legal to do this as a tax free enterprise when you consider that 292 members x $300 per week = $87,600 which is not a pittance and then they’ve been on strike for 4 weeks so that = $350400.  No wonder MUNZ are trying to cull out paying some of their members – it’s expensive to keep a team that big in bit of spending money.

        Some earlier posts had messages from MUNZ members who said the rationing out of the funds was intermittent and inconsistent with some getting more than $300 and others less. 

    • Callum

       Just be aware that unions (like most similar entities, sports clubs etc) do not pay tax on profits made transacting with their members. Earnings from external parties (interest on investments, any government contracts etc) are subject to income tax. This is on the basis that you cannot make a taxable profit (or loss) from yourself and the union is owned by its members.

  • Blokeintakapuna

    Brilliant work WO. Anything that can limit the funding of the morally corrupt Labour Party has to be a huge win for NZ Inc. Nothing disenfects like pure sunshine… and bright spotlights!

    • Mike Smith

       “morally corrupt Labour Party” How so?

      • johnbronkhorst

        Another long list mike…Phillip Field, Ruth Dyson, Trevor mallard all convicted, Helen clarke proven liar, Pledge card fiasco (could be called fraud and theft IF we were being direct)….Lianne Dalzeil…LIAR, Darren Hughes, Chris Carter, Shane Jones (porn king), Annette King (husbands partner and therefore him getting a contract at HBDHB without competition. etc etc etc etc another book to write if we want the full list……..going back to David Lange running over a homeless man on the way back from his mistresses place.

      • Positan

        For Christ’s sake, Mike – if you’re going to persist in posing your uninformed, fatuous and gormless, left-favouring “questions” – have the goodness to at least do some research into points that affect your predisposed stance, so that the rest of us don’t have accord you effort that you so patently do not deserve.

  • Bunswalla

    Isn’t that a beautiful colloquialism: low bastardry. First used in public by Gillard and Abbott in 2010, I believe, one of the better Australian imports.

  • Mike Smith

    Gazzaw, so you have no evidence of your own?

    • politically unstable

      Mike. you sure are full of information….are you just here to ask dumbarse questions???  Try Wikipedia

  • Mike Smith

    Fascinated by johnbronkhorst’s summary of union problems. I first joined a union, here in NZ in 1979, and subsequently joined several over the years in Britain. I have to say in that time I have never experienced any of the difficulties he outlines.  johnbronkhorst, what industrial sector was this in?

    • johnbronkhorst

      Difficultis….HA HA HA HA…now that is understatement….These were deliberate acts of deception…some may call them corrupt!

    • johnbronkhorst

      Also calling on one section of the union  to strike for another…we said no…..man did we have to put up with some stick after that…the union bosses didn’t like us voicing our own opinion one bit!

      • Mike Smith

         Again, what sector?

      • Gazzaw

        Yes I do Mike but John pre-empted me with his personal experiences. Mine were very much the same in my younger days. Unlike you I do not have the financial resources of an ex-banker and I still spend time working for a living hence I did not have the time for a more comprehensive reply.

  • Mike Smith

    Hey Positan, people post stuff without qualifying it in any way. It’s only fair to ask for more info.

    • Positan

      Indeed stuff has been posted as you indicate – but not in the constantly sly-styled way you’ve posed your “questions.”  Your efforts haven’t been remotely aimed at elucidation – you”ve posed ineffectual quibbles that uniformly have come across as seeking nothing more than to contest the obvious truths stated.

      Without contributing anything beyond your own bombast, you’ve endeavoured to piss-off genuine contributors and waste the time of those who’ve treated your substitute wanking as genuine, and attempted to provide you with honest answers. Your dumb-assed responses have me wondering if you were ever “in banking,” was your role that of a cleaner or full-time caretaker?

      Stop wasting our time – get over to the Standard or Red Blert and wallow in their mushy cesspits with scores of other similarly blind, idiot-leftist, reality-confused, dogma-ridden, pie-in-the-sky-believing, mental masturbators.  Those places need such contributions – this blog does not.

      • Gazzaw

        I think we should start a book on how long the ex-banker is going to last here before the plug gets pulled.

  • Chapter Seven (from page 152 onwards) of Ian Wishart’s Absolute Power is very, very enlightening as to how the Service and Food Workers’ Union spent $237,364 during the 2005 election campaign, during a year in which the budget for election expenditure by SFWU was $70,000, and the SFWU recorded a loss of $218,000.

    I hope that WO shines some light into this this particular dark corner. Ironically, Darien Fenton, former National Secretary of the SFWU entered Parliament as a Labour list MP – in 2005; make of that what you will.

    • Sarrs

      I think from memory all unions who have posted their 2011 accounts (some of them haven’t yet…naughty naughty) have posted losses. They have large reserves in equity though so they won’t be too worried about it yet. However, those reserves won’t last forever, and in some cases won’t last long with the rate these losses are being attributed at. Once those reserves run out and their asset base dwindles…insolvency draws near. It’s really only a matter of time if they continue to operate and spend the way they are. Unite learned this the hard way. 

      Mike Smith – feel free to verify this at the Incorporated Societies website. Or check out other threads in this discussion where the details have already been posted in full. 

  • Sarrs

    Mike Smith, 
    Check out Unions with a legally adopted requirement in their constitution to have their accounts audited and then not getting them audited. 
    Upload of Financial Statements 2010 http://www.societies.govt.nz/cms/online-services/register-search/banner_template/CNAME

    vs

    Page 53, paragraph 38 of their rules (constitution)
    http://www.societies.govt.nz/cms/online-services/register-search/banner_template/CNAME 

    • Sarrs

      Well those links are a waste of time. That information was for the New Zealand Amalgamated Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union Incorporated no 508924

      Not only do auditors pick up financial irregularities in accounts, they also enforce legally binding accounting legislation for the representation of income, expenses, assets, liabilities and equity. Such legislation that has changed significantly in the last 5 or so years with the move to adopt IFRS and the removal of our previously sector neutral accounting standards. 
      I would have to do some more analysis but I will check out whether or not the EPMU qualifies for differential reporting or whether full IFRS reports must be produced. 

      • johnbronkhorst

        Changed by the Labour govt. …perhaps????Favours for friends? Payment for services, begets favourable legislation for the unions……..Surely not!!

      • Sarrs

        The adoption of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and the removal of sector neutral accounting standards has happened largely under the guidance of National – especially the sector neutral bit. Sector neutral standards mean that public benefit entities (charities, incorporated societies etc) MUST meet IFRS (NZFRS equivalent) requirements if they do not qualify for exemption under the differential reporting framework. 
        http://www.nzica.com/Technical/Financial-reporting/Standards-and-guidance/Fin-Rep-Standards.aspx 

        Framework of Differential Reporting. 

      • Callum

        John, the financial reporting process has largely been kept clear of political interference and just followed international trends. These things are very slow moving and not the sort of thing a politial party could rush through.

      • johnbronkhorst

        Just pushing a few buttons callum!!!

  • johnbronkhorst

    The biggest ally the union executive have is appathy. Union members that just swallow everything the executive tell them. They never check the accounts, never ask why they are doing something…and most especially don’t ask for the evedence as to why the executive is creating an us verses them mentality instead of a joint progress approach. Maybe thats why, unions have lost 80% of their membership since it was made voluntary…people are wising up to them….Unions are using their members union dues for the executives petty political aims!!!

    • Sarrs

      You are exactly right. People like myself and the Owl wouldn’t have gone anywhere near the accounts of any Unions if it hadn’t been for this industrial dispute. Shining light into dark corners indeed – perhaps MUNZ have brought a ton of bricks down on not only on their own financial management but the financial management of all Unions in this country. 

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