The Maritime Union of New Zealand is in the same pickle as the New Zealand Meatworkers’ Union. It, too, has hidden millions of dollars of spending from the legally required public scrutiny.
Following my complaint, the Registrar of Incorporated Societies, Neville Harris, has ordered the Meatworkers’ Union to re-file six years’ of accounts (Hidesight, Aug 24).
His clear expectation is that the full accounts be presented for approval at the annual meeting on November 7 and be filed promptly thereafter.
It will be fascinating to see if the union complies. It has fought long and hard to keep its accounts hidden. But I’m backing the Registrar to prevail. He has the necessary statutory power to ensure the union complies with the law.
This is good. Unions get numerous rights and privileges under the law. One of the few obligations to to be an incorporated society, which means their annual accounts must be public documents. Hiding the majority of funds away from public scrutiny is not acceptable.
Rodney writes how the Maritime Union has also been hiding money in branch accounts, which have not formed part of their public accounts they file with the Registrar. He notes in the comments on his post:
The Registrar of Incorporated Societies replied to my complaint as follows:
“In light of the issues raised by the NZ Meat Workers and Related Trades Union matter, my office is currently reviewing financial statement compliance by those incorporated societies who are registered unions.
This suggests that the Registrar will be investigating all unions to ascertain how many are following the law and disclosing their full accounts, and forcing those which are hiding accounts to publish in full. It will be fascinating to see how many other unions have been doing this.
Hat Tip: Whale Oil