The hypocrisy of Unite Union

Oh the irony, a Unite union boss writing about a company being a tax cheat. Mike Treen launches an attack on McDonalds without his own hands being clean.

It looks like McDonald’s NZ has been using accounting tricks to avoid paying tax in New Zealand.
In 2011 there was a special payment of $154 million that was paid for by borrowing the money from the Bank Mendes Gans NV, which manages a lot of the company’s international finance. The total loan was actually for $278m to both pay the dividend to the US and repay a “loan” from McDonald’s Australia of $123.567m.

The dividend payment more than doubles McDonald’s NZ liabilities to $301.9m and “will similarly boost its tax deductible interest expense in coming years.

In the last three years McDonald’s NZ has averaged around $200 million a year income. This is income from the 30 stores it owns directly and the fees from the 131 stores owned by franchisees. 

The before tax profit declared for the 3 years was $146.562m. Tax paid was $46.95m – which would seem to be the correct company tax rate. The problem is that a huge amount of revenue is excluded from the profit by accounting mechanisms.

If Mike Treen knows so much about tax structures and accounting then how come Unite still hasn’t filed their annual accounts for three years, still owes IRD for their own tax dodging behaviour?


No accounts for Unite for 3 years

By using “loans” that are ultimately from themselves, as well as paying exorbitant trademark fees for the intellectual property of making a hamburger McDonald’s is transferring income made in New Zealand to their US masters without paying tax on it here . If it is legal it should be outlawed. If its not legal they should be prosecuted.

Good idea…the law requires a union to file annual accounts, it requires that organisations pay tax too…that’s not legal, time for a prosecution f Unite union and its principals.

They should be de-registered immediately as well. They have failed in their statutory requirements 3 years running and still have outstanding tax matters.

When will our statutory bodies start holding organisations to account that fail to follow the law?


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  • blokeintakapuna

    The stench of union hypocrisy almost, but not quite, over-powers the stench of union management maleficence.
    Why does the Registrar allow these unions years and years to meet their annual compliance requirements? Is it collusion? Or just outright incompetence?

    • Euan Ross-Taylor

      And why does IRD not treat them the same as you or I for late filing of our tax?

      • williamabong

        A very good question, perhaps they have friends on the inside, perhaps there is a different, unwritten set of rules applying to trade unions, perhaps IRD are frightened of Unite, or just perhaps IRD are lazy, feckless, incompetent, pricks who would rather ignore a trade union and go after the “low hanging fruit”, i.e. you and I

        • I pick low hanging fruit

          …as an answer.

        • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

          Like the cop who avoids the domestic disturbance in Kaiti and instead gives a ticket to a school-mum travelling at 54kph.

      • Michael

        Because (sadly) no one in NZ wants to be the Kiwi Thatcher and shove it to the Unions. If only we had the balls of “The Lady”

        • AnonWgtn

          Easiest way is to make Union Members pay their Union Dues directly, not through a payroll bulk funding.
          Goodbye Unions.

          • The Dog Thinks

            Woof Woof that has my support less admin as well.

        • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

          I can think of loads of people who would, but they wouldn’t cut it as politicians because they can’t go on TV and talk out of their arse like Goff, Turei and Noddy.

    • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

      It is collusion of the incompetent, by the incompetent and for the incompetent. They are a hereditary dynasty after all.

  • Time For Accountability

    It is one matter for say a business to get into trouble with creditors including the IRD because a customer does not pay and the business is left high and dry.

    However in this case Unite received members subscriptions and paid staff then chose not to pay the paye it was holding on trust for the employees, instead it deliberately paid that for other purposes. That is theft in terms of the crimes act.

    To reinforce the point Unite was not short of money at the time the wages were paid but the management diverted the funds for other purposes.

    What makes it worse is that management chose to use this for the political promotion of its own management that would benefit personally.

    It used its own staff money to do that.

    The reason it is not filing accounts is that this would be exposed.

    There is no excuse for the non filing. The accounts are presumably presented to the AGM – or are they.

    If Unite cannot pay its debts it will be bankrupt and should declare itself bankrupt.

    It makes me cringe when I see a certain Unite member being a hypocrite with his political commentary.

    • blokeintakapuna

      Truly cringeworthy. You would think any media platform would want to distance themselves from a premeditated thief upon all of NZinc… If only to save their their reputation and credibility…

      Maybe McCarten and the Horrid deserve each other then

      • Dave

        I only hope Vomit McCarten is promoted, to manage the offshore sub editing factory, the one in asia. See how long he and his union ways last over there.

    • SJ00

      That is theft, plain and simple. So I guess the question is, why is nothing being done? Is it because someone has to complain formerly to IRD/Registrar/To Whom it May Concern? And no one has done that? Or are the people in charge of overseeing this just as useless as the unions not filing?

      Is there something we can do? Form our own citizens group, hunt these crocks down, complain to whoever and get some results? I’m sure we could get half a dozen guys easy from here to go through the motions.

      I got a letter from the IRD this year saying I hadn’t put in the GST return for my business (I submitted tax but misplaced my GST letter and forgot I had to do it). They gave me a month to file the late return (which was good of them) otherwise I would be hit with penalties. Surely these unions are in the same boat and must be coming under pressure from the authorities? Why can’t the companies registrar do the same thing? You haven’t filed your annual returns (which is not hard to do), you get a month to do it or you fined/registered etc etc etc.

      • cows4me

        “why is nothing been done?” , I’m sure things will be done when campaign funding falls below an “acceptable” level.

    • Dumrse

      When the tail wags the dog, the effect goes all the way to the top of the head whereupon the head is told to ignore the actions of the tail.

  • In Vino Veritas

    So interest on borrowed money should not be deductible for tax puposes according to this moron. By saying that revenue is excluded, Treen gives an insight into his financial capabilities, since interest is an expense. This sort of thing is typical of Unions, appealing to the lowest common denominator.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    It stinks like Matt’s weekly vomit column in NZ Herald on Sunday.

  • johnbronkhorst

    “………using accounting tricks to avoid paying tax in New Zealand.” But I thought that tax “avoidance”, was perfectly legal. But tax “evasion” was a crime. Am I wrong here?
    So it could be said that the Unite union broke the law, but McDonalds didn’t!

  • The Dog Thinks

    This is just typical of unions quick to point the finger and not actually realise they have the other three pointing right back at themselves. IRD are quick to squeeze business it is about time they realised that the Union movement is just another business and treat them like the rest of us. Interesting to consider a Union as a business I wonder what they produce and how they contribute to our economy and society – Oh yes they are just takers not givers isn’t that a revelation. Woof Woof