Buying access

Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor points out the integral part unions play in the Labour Party put it on very shaky ground when it criticises National’s fund-raising activities.

We have been hearing a lot from the Opposition members today around “Cabinet clubs” and their great concern about what might somewhat transparently be happening in the Government over here. Well, I have been fascinated, as they have talked about money and influence and access, to think about what is the world’s largest “Cabinet club”. Ladies and gentlemen, the largest “Cabinet club” of money and influence and access is the unions—the unions that behold that crowd opposite every day. Do you know what makes it worse? Do you know what makes it even worse? The constitution and structure of the New Zealand Labour Party allows the unions—the unions of New Zealand—to decide who the Labour Party leader is, and, God forbid, who could be a Labour Prime Minister. That is buying access. Do you know what makes it even worse? Even worse is that the unions are taking the money from the pockets of hard-working New Zealanders, particularly in the civil service. I remember it well. They take money from hard-working Kiwis, push it on to their union hacks, and then pass it on to the hacks who sit on the other side of this House. . .


. . .  I will not continue on this line of vitriol per se, but I think the reminder is there: if the party opposite wants to talk about money and it wants to talk about access and it wants to talk about influence, then it must begin and end with a conversation about the Labour Party and the role of the unions. I go back to that other point that it is money taken from hard-working, ordinary Kiwis, channelled through the system. Once again, you see it in the constitution of the Labour Party, which gives effective majority control to the unions to decide the leadership. That is just shocking. . .

Unions get more voting power in Labour than individual members.

They give money to the party and get more than access and influence. They get policy wins in return, and in Labour’s last term they also got public money.


One Response to Buying access

  1. JC says:

    I think you can understand the seeming hypocrisy in that old phrase.. “The soft bigotry of low expectations”.

    Labour is the so called “workers’ party” that was historically represented in Parliament by the horny handed ex freezing workers of low education standards.. historically publics in at least the English speaking world understood that manners and proprieties would be different and allowances needed to be made. Conservative parties don’t or didn’t get that sort of leeway because they were perceived to be part of the educated ruling class that should know better.

    But history has moved on and in fact inverted the traditional roles of the parties. Labour type parties are now those of the educated elite with a relatively short tail of the genuinely disadvantaged whilst conservative parties have become the home of a more personally aspirant group.

    Yet still we have that traditional view that labour type parties need to be cut slack when it comes to the proprieties. They need to be sledged good and hard and forced to live up to the standards of an educated, rich elite.. that includes the bulk of the unions who are the Public Service in disguise.



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