Labour’s precarious financial position


The Labour party’s 100th birthday should be a time for celebration, but it isn’t because Labour are broke and they can’t expect to win a thing. Prof Nigel Haworth, the president, is the man who should be raising the money, as highlighted by Claire Trevett.

The job of rebuilding Labour in an organisational and financial sense has gone to its new team of president Nigel Haworth and general secretary Andrew Kirton. The party officials do not have the public profile the MPs have, but they are just as important for party’s wellbeing.

Haworth is a British-born “socialist” trade unionist forged under Margaret Thatcher. Kirton is a former adviser to Helen Clark who since 2008 has worked in the corporate world in London for Heathrow Airport and then Mace Group, a huge builder responsible for building modern city icons such as the Shard and London Eye. It goes without saying he is more comfortable mixing with big business than his predecessor, Tim Barnett.

In the past, Labour has at times treated “donations” as a dirty word, attacking National over its fundraising, targeting its donors and the use of fundraising events such as “Cabinet clubs” and the Prime Minister’s fundraising dinners.

No it is not the General Secretary’s role. It is the Presidents role. Mike “Fat Tony” Williams was the fundraising president in the Clark regime. Mike Smith was the General Secretary. Fat Tony was a brilliant fundraiser who extracted money from even the most rabid right wingers by spending time building a rapport with them, being contactable and being willing to help them. None of these people have ever heard from Prof Haworth.

And it shows. The Labour party got not much in donations, and even less if the tithing of Caucus was taken out of the piss-poor amount given to Labour.

Labour got just $280,000 in donations last year – almost a quarter of National’s tally. Their financial records show they ran at a deficit for at least the three years leading up to that.

Labour tax their MPs through a tithing system that takes a percentage of their income, just like Brian Tamaki takes a percentage of his worshippers’ income. Net out the tithing, reputed to be in the vicinity of $6000 per MP, and the 32 MPs have contributed nearly $200,000 of the $280,000 large donations. So Prof Haworth has done bugger-all fundraising for Labour.

Haworth came to power promising to fundraise. He has not. He needs to be held to account. NZ needs a proper opposition, and a proper opposition fundraises properly so it can fund campaigns. Labour are flat broke and journalists need to be asking Haworth what he has done since becoming president to deliver on his fundraising promises.


– Red Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

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