Trotter calls for an end to unions joining Labour

December 3rd, 2011 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

writes:

WHAT MUST DO to be welcomed back by ordinary Kiwis? What are the things it has to find, and what must it lose?
The first thing it has to lose is trade union affiliation. The big private sector still associated with the Labour Party: the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) and the Service and Food Workers Union; must be cut loose – and soon.
I write those words with a heavy heart, because it was the affiliated union vote that elected me to the New Zealand Council of the Labour Party way back in 1987. In those grim years unionists were the backbone of the opposition to Rogernomics. They kept the flame of the true Labour faith flickering through the party’s darkest days. And it was the block-votes of the trade union affiliates which kept Helen Clark’s political machine ticking over so reliably for the 15 long years it controlled the party.
Even so, it’s time for them to go.
Many people do not realise that several unions do not just support Labour by way of donating money and staff time, but are in fact members of the Labour Party, with significant powers. I am of the view that political parties should only have natural persons as members, and all members should have equal voting strength. This is normally referred to as “one person, one vote”.
National does not allow businesses (or associations of businesses) to join the National Party, to vote at conferences, to help rank the party list and to vote at candidate selections. There would be outrage if (for example) the Auckland Chamber of Commerce got to vote on who should be National’s candidate for (eg) Tamaki or Pakuranga. And could you imagine the outcry if National had a representative from Business NZ sitting on its list ranking committee.
But the days when unions constituted a genuinely representative social, economic and political force are long gone – and with their democratic credentials has gone the rationale for the role they continue to play in the Labour Party. In the private sector workforce barely one worker in ten is unionised. The constitution of the public sector-dominated Council of Trade Unions swept away the democratic traditions which had animated the local trades councils and concentrated all power in the hands of a gaggle of union officials at the very summit of the organisation.
What’s more, the “electorate” responsible for electing these top officials has shrunk alarmingly. In more and more unions leaders are elected not by a postal ballot of the rank-and-file, but by a few score of hand-picked delegates at the union’s annual conference. What were formerly the powerhouses of working-class democracy; and the generators of workers’ power; have become self-selecting oligarchies, against which all dissent crashes and burns.
The Labour Party rules give significant power to unions that join Labour. There are five unions that have affiliated and they have 75,719 members between them. Their voting strength is based on what percentage of their members voted to affiliate. This info is not public but let us assume it is 75% on average which gives them 55,000 notional members.
Those 55,000 notional members are divided up amongst the 70 electorates based on the Labour Party vote (ie if an electorate gets 2% of the overall Labour Party vote, then the union voting strength in that electorate is 2% of 55,000 or 1,100 notional members. On average 55,000/70 is 785 members per electorate. As you can imagine, this is vastly more than the actual number of individual members. Based on current union numbers and assuming a 75% voting strength, the average electorate committee would have unions entitled to 14 delegates on the LEC – EPMU 6, SWFU 4, DWU 2, RMU 1, MU 1. The maximum size of an LEC is 30 members so at an electorate level unions can easily dominate should they wish to.
At the annual conference which sets policy, unions get 3 votes for the first 1,000 members and then 1 vote per member after that. So based on 55,000 notional members they get 115 votes. Certainly not a majority, but still a very significant bloc.  It is equal to around 29 electorates.
In terms of selection meetings, unions have multiple routes of influence. If they dominate the LEC, they can get two of their own elected to the selection committee. They can also get any of their members who live in the electorate to attend the selection meeting and vote for one of their own from the floor to join the selection committee. And they can also dominate the floor vote for preferred candidate, which counts as one of seven votes on the committee.
The affiliate unions also have significant representation on regional list ranking conferences.
If Labour wants to do the working-class a big favour it will purge its party of these oligarchs and welcome workers into the party as ordinary rank-and-file members. Who knows, if enough of them join up, they might even be able to persuade Labour’s MPs (including those who owe their positions on the Party List to the machinations of the Affiliates Council’s wise old heads) to rebuild New Zealand’s trade unions to Twenty-First Century specifications – most particularly by requiring them to operate, from bottom to top, as inclusive, transparent and recognisably democratic institutions.
This is the democratic way to do it. Don’t give union bosses card votes where they can outvote individual members. Don’t allow someone to turn up to and vote at a selection meeting who has never participated in the Labour Party previously. Unions can and should encourage their members to join and get involved in Labour, but the unions themselves should not get rights of representation in a modern democratic party. I strongly believe that only natural persons should be eligible to join a political party – not unions and businesses.
Almost everyone in Labour is saying they are unhappy with the 2011 list ranking, where some of their more talented new MPs were given lower rankings than other MPs with union support and backgrounds. Will anyone in Labour be bold enough to agree with Chris Trotter and call for reform of their candidate selection and ranking rules?
Tags: , ,

39 Responses to “Trotter calls for an end to unions joining Labour”

  1. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Unions should also be banned from donating resources or money to any political party, as well.

    Only natural persons should be allowed to donate money to any political party.

    Yes this would affect National as well but normally when a company donates it gives the same amount to both Liarbore and National so the loss to National would balance out.

    Why is it that unions are permitted to direct funds they receive which are purportedly to represent their workers in the place of employment toward purposes other than that? Why are they allowed to do that?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    Onve again Trotter makes a sound point. The union power within Labour has to be moderated. Its a hark to the past which has not done Labour Party any favours, other than money, buying its way into Parliament.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. oldpark () says:

    After reading that the wharfies strike in Auckland will cost NZ three hundred million dollars.Trotter is on the button.Wonder if Shearer was asked to comment on the strike ,or even Cunliffe, what their reply would be.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Keeping Stock (10,337 comments) says:

    For a died-in-the-wool leftie such as Chris Trotter to be advocating this is quite extraordinary. Will whoever assumes Labour’s leadership have the political ‘nads to even consider it? That remains to be seen.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Actually I think Shearer started walking down that road on The Nation this morning.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. dog_eat_dog (780 comments) says:

    Keeping Stock – Bloody unlikely. Over at Red Alert, Mallard is still convinced that the party’s leadership debate is being unduly influenced by right wing bloggers, a media agenda and literally everything else that can be thrown up as excuse when they inevitably pick a front man who doesn’t resonate with the public like they do with their mates in caucus.

    The fact that these idiots and wowsers are the ones who are going to appointing a leader of a party they’ve actually destroyed themselves speaks volumes about how broken Labour really is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    A side benefit of expelling the unions is the LGBT/Sisterhood brigade then become super-embedded in the Liarbore party’s anatomy like a cancer which they’ll never ever expell and just as deadly.

    Excellent. It’s all coming together. The VRWC’s 2005 Shearer Memorandum is beginning to pay off. Our secret fifth columnist Trotter is doing an excellent job. What a great day.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    I think SHEARER with the support of PARKER are just the guys to make the reforms TROTTER suggests. In any case why do GARNER, CAMPBELL or the WALRUS not bother to touch on such matters of great interest when they interview the contenders on TV instead of the weak fuzzy questions the walrus asked the other night.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. KH (695 comments) says:

    I think that parties should be able to form up from where they choose. And take money from where they choose. The only rules should be that the voters know who are involved, and how it works and where the money comes from.
    Its fine for a party to entirely created by a combination of unions, with union money. As long as I know that I can make an informed vote. And my informed vote would be never to vote for those guys.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    I think that parties should be able to form up from where they choose. And take money from where they choose.

    They already do KH. It’s not about parties its about their contributors. The reason why unions should not be allowed to join any party even if a party wants them do, is because they purport to be in existence for their worker in their workplaces so fine, what’s wrong with making sure that’s the only thing they’re allowed to spend any resources upon: direct representation in the workplace? If that’s what they are about, what’s wrong with that?

    If I was a worker, I’d support that, since how much more value could the unions provide were they required by law to direct all their resources toward what said worker purportedly paid his fees for?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    reid

    Its the ability of the unions to compulsorarily deduct donations to Liebour from union member dues that is at the heart of this. Banning unions from membership wouldn’t stop donations and the unions could, legitimately I think, argue that the donations are in furtherance of the union’s objectives, as it would for example, in promoting its ends through expenditure on lobbying and related advertising.

    Aside from that, such a ban smacks of totalitarianism and IMO inteferes with Liebour’s right to organise itself as it sees fit. However, enforcing the freedom of union members to choose whether they wish to directly or indirectly contribute to Liebour does not carry these objections.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Is Trotter the new Saul?

    Is Bowalley road on the way to Damascus? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Yes I know all that dvm but I don’t care (in that none of them are showstoppers to me).

    I think its a saleable policy and I can’t understand why Key hasn’t put it on the table already. (Well I do, cause he’s a gutless coward, but hey.)

    They’d go absolutely nuts but seriously, why on earth should a union be allowed to participate politically? What’s that got to do with representing their members? If they wish to lobby, do so through the channels everyone else uses.

    What’s wrong with that?

    Like I said, if unions were freed from the shackles of Liarbore wage-slavery those suddenly freed-up resources could do wonders for the direct benefit of their own members which is precisely what they are intended for anyway, so what’s wrong with that, as well?

    I honestly think if that argument was publicly debated a significant number of voters would agree with me. Of course the same rules would also apply to organisations like the Business Roundtable and the EMA. That’s only fair. Only natural persons can donate and belong to parties.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Of course it’s not only the union donations that need to be banned, it’s for example the advertising the PSA did during the campaign. None of that should be allowed. If a union official wishes to volunteer their time to a party, fine, but it’s illegal to do it while you’re being paid by the union or use any union resources at any time for anything other than direct membership activities in the workplaces. Stuff like that would be essential to plug all the loopholes.

    The unfortunate side-effect is it puts public funding on the table although if I were Key I’d pretend I hadn’t heard those cries for about six years, as the opposition gradually became poorer and poorer until eventually, they were all forced to come to Parliament dressed in barrels.

    So that would be a shame. But that’s about the only downside I see and it’s not really much of a downside, is it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Voting National in 2014 then are we reid? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. 3-coil (1,219 comments) says:

    What a laugh – you couldn’t script this shit!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    An ordinary worker voting Labour is like a turkey voting for Christmas. We’re all forced to pay artifically high prices and taxes to line the pockets of Labour’s sponsors. In any other context this is organised crime.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Course you can 3-coil. Jackson’s working on it already.

    Robyn Malcolm is already cast as as Trotters old Uni flame that has fallen on hard times since she stood up for actors rights.

    After a serious stoush with the evil right wing nutjobs where despite catching a life threatening disease(like ratings failure or something) she reigned triumphant with some help from Lucy Lawless and the ghost of Billy T, the left wins through and Godzone is saved along with the whales.

    Coming to Sky soon. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    So long as Keisha gets to make a guest appearance lest the audience think Malcolm’s the only game in town in terms of direct responsibility for saving the whales, the planet and everything living on it, Johnboy.

    I’d hate to see her miss out. After all, compared to her, what did Hillary do except climb a stupid mountain?

    I woulda thought though it was in TV3’s Campbell Live pipeline a’la a Mihi Forbes special report rather than Sky’s. Shows what I know, doesn’t it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Sky Box Office reid you old cheapskate you! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. DJP6-25 (1,386 comments) says:

    reid 11:44 It sure is. What’s this month’s secret handshake. I’ve forgotten it.

    cheers

    David Prosser

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. DJP6-25 (1,386 comments) says:

    I hope they ignore everything Trotter wrote, don’t elect Shearer, and keep doing the same old things. It’s imperative that Trevor Mallard stays campaign manager for life.

    cheers

    David Prosser

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Just thinking further about union political activities it occurs to me there are probably quite a few people with photos of union-emblazoned vehicles helping out during the election with signs and so forth and it further occurs that I think this might be an FBT’able activity so I really hope the unions have included such in their FBT returns but I bet they haven’t.

    I may be wrong but I think Fringe Benefit Tax is excluded if the vehicle is emblazoned but non-work usage still has to be accounted for. The unions would have a standard fraction they return every quarter for the usual private use but political use is obviously over and above this and I bet there was a lot of that.

    If I were IRD I’d be conducting a stiff series of FBT audits across all the unions returns as they trickle in for this election period.

    After all, the UNITE example gives one cause to believe this just could be only the tip of the iceberg.

    Perhaps a permanent combat audit task force needs to be established to plug this revenue hole. Too bad Dunne didn’t include lethal powers for such entities in his last amendment to the Income Tax Act. Silly old fool.

    reid 11:44 It sure is. What’s this month’s secret handshake. I’ve forgotten it.

    It’s the one on the bottom right this month David.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/readers/2011/02/18/secret-handshake-2_1.jpg

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Seeing this could be Dunne’s last suck at the trough reid and with the revelations of the black economy perhaps he will take it upon himself to delve deeply into the union accounts.

    I for one would be happy to divulge all I know of the nefarious dealings of the EPMU!! :)

    One must be seen to be doing one’s bit for integrity, honesty and the finances of the Nation! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Martin Gibson (246 comments) says:

    Good old Mr Trotter. So refreshing to have a logical, thoughtfully constructed argument coming from NZ’s left wing.

    Unions have their place and purpose, but anyone who has employed staff would recognise those who tended to be the most ardent unionists on “Marty’s worker scale”.

    1. Dream workers: the ones everyone want to hire; twice the productivity of others, just need to be acknowledged and an efficient transmission system to work through.
    2. Aspiring bosses: managed right these can be almost as good as #1s who they should be paired with. They want your job and will work hard to learn the ropes and be good enough to get a shot at it.
    3. Bread and butter workers: need them to make up the numbers. Like bacteria they represent the 80 percent who could be good or bad according to the conditions.
    4. Lazy envious workers: Look at the boss and think: “That bastard earns heaps more than me! Why should I bust my ass to make him rich?” Often fat. Here’s where your union leaders come from brothers, to protect themselves and the . . .
    5. Accidental workers: The ones you hope your hiring system filter out. The underclass who will always be unemployed or on the way there. Whether they arise through fetal alcohol sydrome or head injury they need a system specifically to manage them in society rather than giving it to everyone in the hope of controlling the damage they cause.

    Hey don’t shoot the messenger . . .

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    One must be seen to be doing one’s bit for integrity, honesty and the finances of the Nation!

    That’s right Johnboy, we’re not traitors, like unions are.

    It’s a shame the death penalty was abolished for treason, is all I can say. I suppose people think it coincidental that right about that time was when all the unions started turning from the good honest unionists they used to be into the venal dishonest partisan unionists we see today.

    Coincidence?

    Yeah, right.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. trout (939 comments) says:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune. Don’t kid yourself, without Union support the Labour party would not have a feather to fly with. All this commentary is coming from liberal slightly left intellectuals (who recognize Shearer as one of their own) who have no idea of Union machinations. Next they will be asking for the name Labour to be changed (Social Democratic Party perhaps?) so they are not associated with manual ‘labour’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Martin for a serious contribution from me today, I seriously don’t understand why unions don’t bother to upskill themselves in techniques like lean manufacturing and use that to educate the workplace management in how both unions and management can make productive improvements for win-win.

    Lean is nothing about getting rid of workers it’s about re-organising workplaces so they are efficient and empowering workers to learn new skills and have a say in how things get done on an everyday constant basis. Surplus workers always result from constant improvements but instead of getting fired these are deployed onto new projects since Lean is all about customer satisfaction which means delivery on time and to spec, everytime. Lean cuts new product development time in half then halves it again. Usual implementations yield things like for example year on year sales increases of 25%.

    Now if a union went to large employers with proposals like that and had bottom lines which are Lean bottom lines anyway such as, guaranteed no lay-offs, how could any sensible management turn them down flat?

    Guaranteed no lay-offs is a Lean principle BTW cos how do you get people to cooperate in re-organising workspaces, cutting changeover times from hours to minutes, operating with pull on demand from orders, without their full and frank faith and trust?

    But they don’t and this is extremely regrettable.

    Helen Kelly is bright enough to pick up on something like this. I hope she knows about this stuff, because it’s the same broad principles which Ryall has used to clean up the hospitals and look at his performance using those techniques in a difficult portfolio like Health, with no scandals virtually over his entire time. Incredible. And this is possible everywhere in every single place of employment.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    There is a reason why it is called the Labour Party. It was originally set up to represent unions in parliament. That was the whole point! One reason Labour are so awful policy-wise is that unions themselves are terrible representatives of their workers.

    If they get rid of the unions, they may become a better political party, but they will no longer be “Labour”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    they will no longer be “Labour”.

    Yes they will Blair. The LGBT/Sisterhood branch will use their vast, vast network to source a cool alternative to LGBT which when fully spelled turns out coincidentally to sound and look very much like Labour indeed.

    Quite how the LGBT/Sisterhood brigade fifth-column plans to make factory workers who like jugs go along with it, I’m looking forward to seeing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Martin Gibson (246 comments) says:

    Reid, I used to think that way also, then I had an experience with Sue Bradford and Catherine Delahunty that made me realise the object is not lifting the working man, it is getting an orderly herd of victims to profitably herd.

    I was working as a reporter and went to do a story on Spotless hospital cleaners who were being urged to strike by the two women mentioned above.

    For an hour I dutifully listened to Sue Bradford tell them that with the contract up for renewal now was the ideal time to strike, and K-Dunt talk in the Maori accent she uses when she thinks she has some victims to herd.

    Then I went and interviewed the workers who did indeed seem to be sucking on the hind teat, working hard for near minimum wage.

    Once I had the story I closed my notepad and told them I had been a commercial cleaner for four years myself and that the split normally goes 50% owners, 25% management and 25% to the workers.

    If the contract was up for renewal, I asked them, why not get together with some local business people who could help form a company, hire a manager and tender for the contract?

    This model was used to good effect in South America, and without going through a Norwegian-based multinational it would mean they could do the job cheaper, get paid more, and get more job satisfaction.

    They seemed keen so I looked into it further, but it was a bit close to the tender being due, so I called the guy who gave me his number and told him I couldn’t get it together in time, but local business people would be keen to help next time.

    Imagine my surprise when the paper’s owner showed me a vitriolic letter from Ms Delahunty who was angry that I had talked when I should have been interviewing which was a shame given the paper’s reporters were “usually competent and professional”.

    That taught me a lesson about Delahunty, Bradford and their ilk . . . they don’t want to lift workers they want to herd them, and if the proletariat get in their way solidarity goes out the window and they will run shrieking to the boss and lie.

    The fact both of them have been involved in “unemployed workers unions” should have been a clue to this I guess.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Martin that’s confirmation of my theory which is Liarbore and indeed Gween and Mana politicians know the truth but don’t want to mention it lest it decimate their base.

    I think the key to poverty alleviation isn’t more money but non-judgmental compulsory when necessary education in things like how to do what you and I do in our lives everyday.

    These guys know that but they don’t want to enunciate it cause that would cost them their base if they did for their base would disappear, they would not be poor anymore.

    These guys have the cheek to call people like you and I selfish and grasping and oppressive and in your case even unprofessional, those bastards, yet all the time they do this with their silence, the poverty grows worse and no-one ever says anything, as a consequence of their territorial defence.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Quite right reid.

    Fintan Patrick Walsh was one of the last real unionist’s we have seen in NZ.

    Deviating from the union line was punished by hanging drawing and quartering. :)

    Oh for the good old days! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Exactly Johnboy. Stocks at the top of the man on the horsy statue in the middle of a Wellington winter whenever they get a Parliamentary question wrong or if they are a union member. Like black marks at boarding school. If that doesn’t learn them, what pray tell ever will?

    It’s a riddle inside an enigma inside a fiendish machination of the most dastardly kind.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    F.P. Walsh was never a fan of Churchill’s reid. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Steve (4,559 comments) says:

    Trotter is on the right track. Labour needs to lose the nasty Unionists such as Darien Fenton. While the Union controls Labour they will go nowhere for a long long time. Other deadwood such as Mallard need to go as well.
    But if they don’t change it is fine with me

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. David Garrett (7,270 comments) says:

    Come in Graeme Edgeler…On my reading of the Electoral Act only “electors” can be members of a political party…”electors” by definition must be natural persons who are entitled to vote; companies and incorporated societies (which I assume unions are) cannot vote.

    This makes sense, because if companies were allowed to be members, then I could form David Garrett (nos1-500) Limited and have an instant political party….

    Or are the unions affiliated members rather than full members for the purposes of qualifying as a party?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. David Garrett (7,270 comments) says:

    Martin Gibson: Fantastic analysis of how unions work….re Ms Delahunty’s Maori accent (Bradford used to use one too….) it used to amuse me in parliament whenever she spoke that despite: 1) the faux maori accent; and 2) the sprinkling of te reo throughout her speeches, the Maori party members I sat next to never took a blind bit of notice of anything she said with reference to te tiriti or tangata whenua or anything else that you think might have appealed to them…I beleive I detected a slight smile of contempt on Flavell from time to time, but then he was pretty inscrutable…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Come in Graeme Edgeler…On my reading of the Electoral Act only “electors” can be members of a political party…”electors” by definition must be natural persons who are entitled to vote; companies and incorporated societies (which I assume unions are) cannot vote.

    Sorry I took so long :-)

    You’ve read too much into the Electoral Act. It sets out minimum requirements. Before being registered (and in order to maintain registration), a party must have at least 500 members who are eligible to be electors. The law does not regulate who else may be members. Political parties are not prohibited from granting membership to 17 year-olds, or unions, or sentenced prisoners, none of whom is eligible to be an elector. It just can’t count any of these people as being among the 500 members necessary for registration.

    P.S. yes, unions are required to be incorporated societies by the Employment Relations Act

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote