Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labour's Other Slush-Fund

A quick look at Labour’s line-up this election shows just how deeply embedded the union movement is in Government circles, and how Labour’s campaign this election are heavily funded by the taxpayer.

Labour has 41 MPs currently in Parliament, standing again. That’s fair and reasonable, perhaps, given that they are the governing party. It is probably understandable that the entire personal staffs of the Prime Minister and her Ministers, and the taxpayer-funded personal staffs of Labour MPs, should also be campaigning for Labour. Of course, it does deliver a vast resource to the incumbent Party, but that’s the nature of any incumbent Party.

What is less clear is just how many non-MPs are receiving substantial taxpayer support while campaigning for the Labour Party. Alarmingly, almost the entirety of Labour’s non-MP candidates, are either union officials or otherwise in receipt of Government payment for their work on publicly-funded bodies, on city councils, or in the public sector.

  1. Louisa Wall. Currently employed by the Human Rights Commission. Also a paid board member of the taxpayer-funded Sport and Recreation New Zealand. Is on annual leave from her role while campaigning.
  2. Maryan Street. Employee Relations Manager for District Health Boards New Zealand.
  3. Shane Jones. Member of the Industry New Zealand Board, chairman of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission.
  4. Sue Moroney. Paid official of the Nurses Organisation.
  5. Darien Fenton, Paid Union Official, Service and Food Worker’s Union.
  6. Su’a William Sio. Manukau City Councillor.
  7. Hamish McCracken. Politics Lecturer, Manukau Institute of Technology. Previously a Finsec Union Organiser. Board member of the Plastics and Materials Processing Industry Training Organisation.
  8. Max Purnell. Member of the AGMARDT Board, a crown-funded trust.
  9. Wayne Harpur, Member of the Southland Community Trust, appointed by the Minister of Finance. City Councillor. Trade Unionist.
  10. Leila Boyle. Auckland City Councillor.
  11. Phil Twyford. Peace Activist, Oxfam Director.
  12. Jen McCutcheon. Former PPTA President. “CTU representative on the Department of Labour group which evaluates courses applying for EREL (employment related education leave) funding since its’ inception four years ago. “
  13. Michael Wood. Finsec Organiser.
  14. Linda Hudson. Whakatane District Councillor. Member of Creative New Zealand Board. Union Member.
  15. Tony Milne. Executive Assistant to Tim Barnett, MP. PSA Activist.
  16. David Talbot. Assistant to Marian Hobbs.
  17. Marilyn Brown. Palmerston North City Councillor.
  18. Eamon Daly. Human Rights Review Tribunal Member. Biothics Council Member.
  19. Judy Lawley. Waitakere City Councillor.
  20. Pauline Scott. Margaret Wilson’s electorate agent.
  21. Camille Nakhid. Sociology Lecturer, AUT.
  22. Sally Barrett, School Teacher.


Cathy Odgers said...

Brilliant Prick. What a list of completely useless wastes of the public purse.

Of course what does Pete Hodgson do?

Work for Women's Affairs or something?

Anonymous said...

public tittie suckers to a core.
fuck i will be glad to see the back of those social engineering misanthropes

span said...

of course those employed by the state have to stand down from their jobs from nomination day, as per s52 of the Electoral Act:

Meaning they would have to take annual leave and if it runs out take unpaid leave. Quite misleading of you to omit that important point.

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo

Well if they were employed by the private sector they would have to take annual leave and unpaid leave as well to campaign. What is the difference?

Prick mentions the annual leave point once. It is not misleading at all.

In fact I know of several instances where Unions have propped up salaries and annual leave entitlements out of their slush fund for aspiring candidates.

span said...

the difference is that state employees covered by s52 HAVE TO go on leave, whereas other people do not. The private sector do not make people take leave (paid or unpaid) when they are candidates, it is their choice.

Candidates for the two major parties may well go on leave for the last two weeks or so, but I'd doubt that many from the minors are able to.

I know of several people who would otherwise have stood for parliament for a minor party, but they couldn't afford to be without pay for potentially six weeks (which is the length of time some who are teachers have been told they have to take off, unpaid as they only get paid holidays during the term breaks).

it is misleading because IP makes it sound like they are being paid to campaign, which they aren't - they are being forced to take paid or unpaid leave (and there may be an argument for that in some cases). if they are being paid they are being paid to be on holiday, and what you do in your holidays is generally nothing to do with your boss.

Yesom said...

A useful but slightly innaccurate list Shane Jones for instance.No connection to the Govt at all in his positions.Also to be fair my research notes 7-8 of the National Party candidates that you could make the same accusation about.
Cheers Yesom

Jordan said...

I just note the one mistake in this list that I know about, which is with respect to David Talbot. David is not employed by Parliamentary Service any more.

I find your fetish with the public sector bizarre. All the list shows is that Labour's candidates are in touch with working people and communities, far more so than the corporate big-noters who make up National's list. Why you think highlighting that difference is a good thing for you to do is beyond me.

Insolent Prick said...

Jordan, if the reference to David Talbot is wrong, then that is because Labour's own website is wrong. The website implies that he is currently employed as Marian Hobbs' assistant.

What this list clearly points to is the mentality of the Labour Party. Labour's candidates have their snouts firmly in the public trough. They have no experience of what it is like to earn a living in the private sector. Their entire world view is based around living off the productive parts of society.

Ed Snack said...

Spanner, I'd like to work for a private organisation that would let me have 6 weeks paid time off without taking it as leave. Unless I owned the company I think I'd have to be lucky.

Just as well public servants have to take leave, if they continued "working", no one would actually notice the difference and productivity in the public sector might actually go up.

Do the Unions insist that candidates take leave, unpaid if necessary ? Somehow I doubt it.

span said...

(sorry if this comment comes up twice, i lost it the first time i think)

Ed you misunderstand me.

public sector employees don't get a choice about whether or not to take leave before the election, they HAVE TO if they are candidates.

that leave does come off their annual leave entitlement, and if they don't have enough annual leave then the remainder of the leave would be unpaid. So potentially to be a candidate some public sector employees are looking at three or four weeks of unpaid leave, and remember that this is not just those who work in ministries and so on, it includes people at a distance like teachers.

several weeks without pay is quite a chilling effect.

in terms of unions - unions, like the private sector, are entitled to make their own choices about this stuff. i know of many union candidates who are not taking any leave but are fitting in campaigining in the weekends and evenings. in my experience bosses don't stop doing stupid and/or illegal things to their workers just because there is an election on, so there is still plenty of work for unionists to do!

Jordan said...

Another assumption. You assume that everyone who works in the public sector has never worked in the private sector. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Insolent Prick said...

Very misleading of you, Jordan.

22 of 25 Labour candidates, who are not currently MPs, but are campaigning full-time for Labour, are currently on either the public payroll, or deriving their principal income through union activity. Union activity is heavily subsidised, both directly and indirectly, by taxpayer funds.

I am not talking about previous employment, although it is also reasonable to say that only a tiny proportion of Labour's candidates have had substantial experience in the private sector.

The point I made is that they're all at the public trough now.

That speaks volumes about the mentality of Labour's candidates. Their world view is not about creating wealth through the private sector, but by redistributing private sector resources through the public sector.

The vast majority of Labour's candidates this election are continuing to draw government and union payments right up to election day.

Conclusion: Labour's candidates are taxpayer-funded to push Labour Party propaganda.

Dave said...

So Public servants have to take leave to campagn.Except of they are standing for Labour. Ask Parekura Horomia if he took leave from his public service duties when standing a a candidate for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Charles Chauvel, even though employed by a law firm has had a reasonable amount of time at the public pig trough as well.


span said...

i've made this point over at DPF but it bears repeating - there is a lot more to running a Government than having this mystical "private sector experience" of which you speak. You need a team of people who have backgrounds in all sorts of areas - not just business.

Because the Government is not just another company - it makes decisions that affect people's acutal lives.

I would feel far more comfortable about a Cabinet which included some with union experience, and some with experience as workers and bosses, making industrial relations laws, than National's boss-heavy lineup. Union people see both sides, even though their role is often to advocate for one particular side, they need to find solutions that suit both.

In terms of your accusations (IP) that unions are publically funded too - many businesses receive public subsidies as well, in all sorts of forms, do you include them on your slush-fund list, because i bet they receive a whole lot more than unions do.

Heine said...

The gravy train will be derailed in a few weeks.

The double standards here is sickening. If National had as many people suckling up to the public teats the Labourites would be screaming corruption.

span said...

a lot of the National appointments to boards and in particular University councils are in fact still in place Heine, a source of constant irritation to those to the left of Labour.

tell me though - if a union receives a small employment education grant, which is the only money i'm aware of that unions can get from Govt (and which businesses can apply for too), but a business gets a much larger grant from the MED, who is sucking off the state tit more?

Insolent Prick said...

That's a lie, Spanner.

Most appointments to crown entities are for a term of three years. No term of appointment goes beyond five years.

Labour has been in Government for six years. The only board members of crown entities that were appointed by National, who remain on crown entity boards, have been reappointed by Labour.

Sean P rules said...

I'm sure the Unions don't use their 'Education fund' from the Govt to pay out leave to their candidates. They use it to fund full-page ads in the paper slagging off National, eg recent ads from PPTA, Nurses Union, etc. Of course it's all very legit and proper use of taxpayers funds - not like the evil Brethren who fund their own advertsing and must be stopped.

Ed Snack said...

Spanner, I didn't misunderstand, however I thought your comment "The private sector do not make people take leave (paid or unpaid) when they are candidates, it is their choice." implied that the candidates get the choice, which they usually do not, their employer may allow them to stay on full pay, but I would suggest that it is unlikely to occur often. The most likely organisations to allow people to continue on full pay are the unions.

You express a preference for a cabinet with a range of experiences, then you must hate the current Labour cabinet, almost without exception everyone in it has a background in teaching/academia or union affairs. This lack of balance in the real world rather shows in their collective decisions don't you think ?

span said...

IP - I can see why you thought I was lying, but there are instances where National appointees have been reappointed by Labour. I am thinking in particular of a University Council that I had some involvement with, National appointed some very right wing people in the 90s and some were reappointed by Labour, and it drove those of us on the Left to despair. I hope they have moved some of those people on now. I can accept that I may be wrong, but there is a difference between being wrong and lying actually.

sean p - having had some experience administering union education grants I can tell you that the ERS are very aware of what happened with the CEG fund and are very rigorous with the paperwork, reports, receipts, etc, that unions have to provide. You have to make a very detailed application that includes very specific information on what you intend to do with the money, and then you have to report every few months on your progress and spending. it is not possible to siphon it off for other purposes.

Ed - i think the misunderstanding is around the term "leave" - when i have written leave above i have generally been referring to annual leave, ie holidays. if you are forced to take annual leave, as candidates who work in the public sector are prior to the election, you could use your annual leave to ensure you still had an income. Of course this would mean you couldn't take holidays at a later time and if you ran out of annual leave you would have to be on leave without pay. as some public servants are forced to take six weeks off and most NZers only receive three or four weeks annual leave it is likely that public sector candidates are forced to have several weeks off without any pay. which of course many people can't afford so they just don't run. and let's face it 99% of candidates don't win, so it's not as if they are looking forward to a big pay rise after the election.

Sean P rules said...

Spanner, you can't be serious! Unions would have no trouble describing full page ads slagging National as 'Education' - who would stop them, the Govt-appointed 'watchdog' that agrees Labour's new pledge card can be funded by the taxpayer? But surely the PPTA wouldn't misrepresent things so badly ? Not Professionals who spend their lives impacting truth and wisdom to our young ? Of course not - take their lead item on their website 'National threatens disruption in schools'. What's this ? Has Benson-Pope jumped the waka ? read on..
"National's education policy will cause major disruption in our schools ...," said Council of Trade Unions president, Ross Wilson. Now that's what I call spin, Spanner.

span said...

sean p - to fund a full-page ad out of the union education fund the union involved would need to apply for the money for that purpose, ie say we need $X,000 for a full-page ad saying Y in Z newspaper, and it will achieve A in terms of our education programme.

the body that decides on these applications includes representatives from business who frequently send things back because they are too pro-worker. an application for advertising of the nature you are talking about would never get through that group of people, trust me. I had to take "win" out of a union education resource because it would have offended them, i hardly think the PPTA's ads would make it through, even if advertising was something you could claim for, which it isn't.

at the end of the project you need to send in a full financial report breaking down where every cent was spent and anything not spent has to be given back. it really is quite rigorous - the people who work for the ERS don't want to get in trouble the way those working on the CEG fund did.

Sean Prules said...

Sorry Span, nice try but not true. The ad in todays Dompost from EPMU, slagging Brasch and National, is funded by the education fund. How ? Note the little piece at the bottom about how members can be eligible for paid leave while they vote. This enabled them to claim the ad is 'Educational', in the minds of your 'fairminded' and 'rigorous' body. About as rigorous as the Hip Hop tour funding group, the Whanaanga board, the sex-change funding agency, and any number of other tissue-paper safety nets set up by Labour for their fellow travellers and supporters. You might enjoy fooling yourself that this is 'management' and fair redistribution. I recognise it as a creeping, insidious corruption, and graft of unprecedented proportions in this country.

span said...

sean p the paid leave to vote is entirely separate from any paid education leave, i'm not sure why you have entwined them in your mind. paid leave to vote is in the Electoral Act and has been for years, paid education leave is in the ERA and is relatively new.

the money from paid education leave is separate again from the employment related education contestable fund, which is specifically for projects on education around employment stuff.

your argument simply does not compute. you are just saying that the EPMU receives money from the ERE contestable fund and the EPMU paid for an ad in the paper, therefore the first must have funded the second. there is no proof of that whatsoever, you've just made the connection in your head but it doesn't exist in the real world.

if they had funded the ad out of the money they received from the education fund, how then would they have paid for the projects they must complete under the ERE fund? because if they don't complete them they have to give the money back, and if they haven't spent all the money specifically on the things they said they would they have to give that back too.

like i said a while back, there are business people (selected by Business NZ i think) on the group that deals to the applications, and they really would not pass advertising. you can't even ask for equipment to help with educational programmes anymore, and it's hard to get appropriate levels of funding for specialist skills (eg facilitators in specialist areas such as pay systems).

i can see that you think conspiracy is everywhere sean, when in fact some unions are openly campaigning for their democratically decided policies, with the money provided by their membership, and using budgets decided by the elected (ie member) leadership of the union.

how is this different from the fact that the AA lobby politicians and campaign, albeit on a lesser level, for their policies?

Insolent Prick said...

You're deliberately avoiding the key point, Spanner.

Unions attract large amounts of money from the taxpayer--$5 million over the next three years--to engage in core union activities. Look at the courses they are running: they are pro-union propaganda courses. Courses such as "How to Be A Union Delegate", and "Bargaining For Your Union", and "Organising A Union", are core union activities. The courses are run by trade union officials.

It is a direct subsidy that goes towards the core operations of the unions, by the taxpayer.

The unions know that this kind of nonsensical waste of taxpayer's money will stop under National. So they're using Union money to distribute propaganda against National, on behalf of the Labour Party, to protect its privileged funding base.

That is an outrage and a scam.