McCarten confirmed as Cunliffe’s Chief of Staff

February 26th, 2014 at 11:19 am by David Farrar

The Daily Blog has announced that will be ’s Chief of Staff.

As I said earlier, this will be great when say people should pay more tax, when their chief of staff ran an organisation that owed $150,000 to the IRD in unpaid taxes – and even worse most of it was tax deducted from employees and not passed on.

Imagine if John Key hired a chief of staff who had run an organisation that spent employee’s taxes on political projects, rather than paying the IRD, He’d be crucified by the left as condoning tax avoidance.

McCarten is a very skilled operator, but he is from the hard left. This is a clear signal that Labour is going to go even more hard left.

Danyl at Dim Post notes:

Can Matt McCarten turn things around? If you’re seeking to unify the party then the answer there would be a massive ‘No.’ The last thing Labour leads is a Chief of Staff with a big personality, big profile, big ego, talent for skullduggery and a strong left-wing political agenda that’s totally at odds with those of his leader’s enemies within the party.

But if you’re Cunliffe and you’re looking at Goff, Mallard, Cosgrove, King et al and coming to the conclusion that unity with them is impossible, war is inevitable and the best thing to do is try and win it then McCarten would be a pretty great choice

So McCarten’s appointment isn’t to help Labour win the election, but to help Cunliffe defeat his enemies in caucus.

UPDATE: Looks like the misappropriated tax payments have never been paid. The documents for UNITE Support Services show it was finally liquidated on 29 May 2013 with no funds available for creditors.

An earlier report showed that the IRD was owed around $101,000 by the shell company.

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64 Responses to “McCarten confirmed as Cunliffe’s Chief of Staff”

  1. King Kong (36 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has made another appalling fer…fer… fer… fer…fuck up.

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  2. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    A party now appointing thieves to appease their left-wing mates. What a bunch of losers!

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  3. dirty harry (444 comments) says:

    Liarbors in turmoil, the gweens are in free fall.

    JK should call a snap election and wipe the floor with the losers.

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  4. SHG (370 comments) says:

    Well, that’s every Labour line on “organisations paying their fair share of tax” neutralised then.

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  5. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    Popcorn futures to all time high

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  6. Bill Ted (88 comments) says:

    That’s such a glorious decision that I’m tempted to stock up on Meridian and MRP shares – they’re guaranteed to rise now that the election is a given.

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  7. Peter (1,673 comments) says:

    This is the best decision since Labour appointed Cunliffe leader.

    They’ve clearly given up.

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  8. Pete George (23,351 comments) says:

    Laura McQuillan @mcquillanatorz
    Was that an earthquake?

    ane Clifton ‏@rumpole3
    Was that Helen Clark responding to news of McCarten’s appointment?

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  9. Zapper (967 comments) says:

    Around Christmas time I was feeling very nervous about 2014. These last few weeks have made me very happy. The Greens corruption and hypocrisy exposed, TVNZ exposed as being a mouthpiece for Labour, Cunliffe making blunder after blunder including this cracker…while the economic forecasts look great.

    Keep working hard people, there is a lot at stake this year.

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  10. Huevon (211 comments) says:

    I think this is a FANTASTIC decision for Labour. Look, I have no problem with the Socialists, as long as they are being honest about being Socialists. I won’t vote for them, but I know exactly where they stand. Cunners and McCarten can launch an internecine campaign, consolidate their control over the caucus, and take the party where they want to go. Sure, it will be nasty and they will probably lose the next election, but I assume they are playing a long game.

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  11. burt (8,037 comments) says:

    About now Key should announce that one of the priorities this year for the economy is dealing to tax defaulters ….

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  12. tvb (4,259 comments) says:

    It is very strange indeed to appoint a high profile person in this sort of role. He is there to defend Cunliffe from the left while Cunliffe moves to the centre to appeal to middle of the road voters.

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  13. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Really? So when the polls indicate you are losing the center by embracing the far left, you hire Matt McCarten as your CoS?

    Who is advising Cunliffe? This is idiocy.

    At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, this makes about as much sense as Hitler invading Russia. Labour has started a war on two fronts by attacking a previous ally, and the resources needed to gain the left vote WILL cost it the center, and the election.

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  14. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    It may be a move to counter Liarbore’s hallucination that one critical strategy to lift their support is to re-capture the wild horses that have escaped to the Gweens. If anyone has insight into that bloc it’s Matt.

    I quite like him as a person and I suspect he’ll be able to do what the former CoS wasn’t: connect with the caucus and re-unite it with the executive team. This is because he’s got cred with the Sisterhood/Rainbow faction who threw their toys out of the cot when Robertson wasn’t chosen.

    That bridging of the gap is really really critical for Cunliffe’s own job security and I suspect that’s mainly why he was chosen, given Cunliffe’s major focus is himself first, everything else second.

    Unfortunately Matt, from reading between the lines in his columns, only sees the world in one shade and he’s therefore probably unable to truly place himself into the space where the floaters are, who are currently supporting National because they’re not so ideologically hidebound but rather they’re pragmatic. That’s the real key to changing the poll numbers because every point recaptured in that bloc there are double points, because it counts twice, first against National and second for Labour.

    But then again, he’s the CoS not the head strategist so others in the party will be looking at that. But they’re still munting on about the abstainers as being their main hope and I’m not sure that’s correct – it would be interesting to see what the polls say about why that bloc are doing what they’re doing.

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  15. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    I have a vague recall of a charity, (was it mystery envelopes or some such) that was not passing on all the proceeds but skimming the majority off the top as administration fees and leaving on only about 7% for the charity. What was the name of the bloke involved? Was that McCarten???

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  16. chris (589 comments) says:

    From the Daily Blog:

    UPDATE: The bore of Babylon – David Farrar’s blog attacking Matt’s tax issues while Matt was diagnosed with terminal cancer reminds us all what a hateful little piece of work Farrar is.

    Apparently having cancer now forgives your organisation from paying your employees PAYE.

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  17. Monty (966 comments) says:

    As I noted earlier, has no one in labour asked

    “Should we be doing this?”

    More fodder for the Nats. I hope they use the opportunity to beat labour relentlessly and without any mercy at this appointment

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  18. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (839 comments) says:

    Good to see tax cheats now integrating into Labour….

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  19. jp_1983 (200 comments) says:

    On the plus side, I guess the Herald on Sunday will need a new commentator…. now Matt McCartnen has a job..

    We shall see

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  20. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (839 comments) says:

    As jp_1983 says, we don’t have to put up with the tax cheat’s nonsense in Herald On Sunday!!

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  21. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    How about a more pragmatic reason. Run out of other options. Well, at least vaguely credible options. Matt McCarten is likely to be competent in the role. He has baggage, that’s a risk, but if everyone who was competent and had only minor baggage was unfortunately “not available”, then this is what you’d do.

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  22. Bill Ted (88 comments) says:

    Probably why Bomber is so happy about this appointment – he thinks he’s a shoo-in to takeover Matt’s HoS column…

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  23. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    FaceBook pay tax legally. Cunliffe was going to ban their site unless they agreed to pay more than their fair share. A sort of mafia approach to shaking down the IT industry.

    Cunliffe was also going to employ stand over tactics to make Pike River Mine shareholders to pay money to victims which they weren’t actually liable. I recall he was going to invite them in and deliver a “do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way” message.

    So maybe Cunliffe could use his hard man act to get McCarten to pay the taxes that he actually owes, but decided to use to promote union political campaigns instead of paying to the IRD?

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  24. Pete George (23,351 comments) says:

    PaulL – I can imagine that politically moderate people who are strong managers and can work for an unliked leader and can realistically deal with a toxic caucus are not exactly queueing up for the job.

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  25. Keeping Stock (10,184 comments) says:

    Who, in November 2012 said this of David Cunliffe when he was undermining David Shearer?

    The original Ponsonby cafe interview venue was changed because the subject didn’t want his potential blue collar supporters to think he was some latte-sipping w***** swanning around Auckland’s liberal ghetto. The fact he lives a stone’s throw from Ponsonby Rd (miles away from his New Lynn electorate) reveals more.
    Cunliffe’s angst with his interviewer about where he should be photographed was plain narcissism. Not at the beach as he could be lampooned as if his career were drowning; not on a lawn or he could described as a snake in the grass.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/who-said-this.html

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  26. tvb (4,259 comments) says:

    This looks like Cunliffe appointing a Deputy Leader rather than a Chief of Staff. McCarten will see himself in that role too.

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  27. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    How ironic. The corrupt Labour party are about to appoint a man who refused to pay his tax and then hid behind an “illness” as the excuse. This is the same Labour party who are going to go on the attack about raising taxes on the rich pricks.

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  28. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @tvb – “This looks like Cunliffe appointing a Deputy Leader rather than a Chief of Staff.”

    A good take on things, tvb. You may well be right…… :)

    Anyway, this is *great* news for the Nats! They will be able to hammer Labour *constantly* for the next year or two about McCarten’s tax issues. Labour have *completely* nobbled themselves on tax policy because of this appointment.

    All_on_Red has it right – “Popcorn futures to all-time high…” :)

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  29. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    Well, at least this means McCarten will be removed from political commentary panels by TVNZ. [BATMAN > ROBIN SLAP!]

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  30. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    Wadda Larf.
    When I first read this I though it was a spoof.

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  31. Bovver (151 comments) says:

    Why do you need to hold a press conference to announce a non elected back office job, sounds like a desperate move to get some media exposure.

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  32. DJP6-25 (1,313 comments) says:

    As this is bad for the left, it’s good for New-Zealand.

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  33. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    I confidently predict that Labour will fa fa fail.

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  34. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    There are months worth of quotes to repost from the mouth and pen of this multimillionaire communist.
    And every time lord Cunliffe or any of his team mention tax they are going to get it hard in the clacker.
    But, let’s stop repeating the bullshit that he is chief of staff.
    He is the election campaign manager, calling him CoS allows them to get you and I to pay his salary.
    More blatant misuse of taxpayer funds.

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  35. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    It might be worth asking how his partner feels about the inevitable nights away as well. By all accounts she has this notorious rooter on a very short leash

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  36. notrotsky (67 comments) says:

    Are they completely fucking insane ?

    If you didn’t know better you’d think they were actively trying to loose the election, seriously even that munter Greg Presland would have been a more sane choice, perhaps they’re just trying to mop up as much of the left vote as possible to try and protect Cunners and have given up on winning.

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  37. Pete George (23,351 comments) says:

    An interesting series of media tweets including:

    “Awesome” is how David Cunliffe’s describing his new team of Matt McCarton & campaign director David Talbot.

    McCarten: “it’s nice to be here.” Says took job because has been “pleasantly surprised” by direction Cunliffe has taken the party.

    “This man could be and should be PM”

    Matt McCarten says the chemistry between him and David Cunliffe is extraordinary.

    Cactus Kate: so is throwing hydrochloric acid on metal

    Greg Presland sugguests “the words “game changer” seem very appropriate”. Caucus changer would be a necessary pre-cursor to that.

    More: Cunliffe confirms McCarten’s appointment

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  38. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    Hilarious.

    Let’s look at what liebour has brought to the table over the last wee while.

    Child abuser, fraudsters, thieves and now tax cheating. That stench you’re detecting is the NZ liebour party.

    What on earth possessed Cunners to do this?

    I wonder if he’s rehearsed his answer yet: “Look, I can’t comment on that, it happened before he took this role and it’s really a matter between Matt and Inland Revenue. All I can say is that Matt will do an excellent job of helping me to return a liebour-lead Government, is very experienced and is as committed as me in assisting the poor in this country to get their fair share. I think the fact that you’re asking me this is a pretty good indication that National are intending to make this a dirty election. Let me assure you that liebour will be focussing on the economy, helping the poor and getting people back into work rather than helping John Key’s shonky mates get even richer.”

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  39. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    notrotsky

    Even the munter presland is smart enough to realise that he is better off sticking with his part time legal practice.

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  40. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The actions of the tax dodger will speak for themselves. The old saying “Once a crook, always a crook” suits McCarten well.

    In summary: a dishonest man has joined a gang of left-wing robbers.

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  41. notrotsky (67 comments) says:

    H1 and H2 must look at Labour from their cushy seats at the UN and wonder how they could possibly become more fucked up.

    @thedavincimode…. nah Presland’s hubris and Labour fanboi credentials means he’d be welded to Cunners todger faster than a Len brown can loose his load.

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  42. ShawnLH (4,447 comments) says:

    The hypocrisy of the Left. Attacks on the productive for not paying “enough” tax, excuses and rewards for unproductive useless bludgers who actually don’t pay their tax.

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  43. Pete George (23,351 comments) says:

    Alliance take the left by stealth, first Laila Harre in Greens and now McCarten in Labour.

    And…Cunliffe says Jim Anderton is “coming home to Labour.”

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  44. Keeping Stock (10,184 comments) says:

    I wonder where Trevor Mallard, Chris Hipkins, Clayton Cosgrove, Annette King, Shane Jones, Clare Curran and a few others will gather for a BBQ and a chat tonight

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  45. Pete George (23,351 comments) says:

    No KS, Cunliffe says he’s spoken to “senior MPs” about Matt McCarten’s appointment and they are all on board.

    But maybe he will call the board a plank to another audience.

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  46. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    OK, Spy vs Spy time … the double wammy ploy that is so cunning you could … etc

    1. Cunners sees his destiny as the righteous Lord Protector of Nzild (no arguments there I expect).
    2. In order to secure this exalted status, he needs to deal with the ABCs.
    3. He buries his face in the unions’ groins .
    4. He recruits the deadbeat McCarten who forgot where he put all the PAYE he was collecting and got paid for writing a newspaper column that somebody else wrote. This signals that he is a born again hard-core lefty. Moocho reciprocal gobbling with union fan club.
    5. Deals to ABC’s this election and next with the help of his new union buddies and his wee pet presland.
    6. Joe Public says: “fuck this – we don’t want a bar of these hard core lefty pricks. Nats win election easing up at the line.
    7. Clean out time in the wake of the election drubbing. ABC’s gone or under the pump and can’t dump Cunners.
    8. Only Cunners can lead liebour to the promised land. Tells unions” … sorry, but only I can lead you to the promised land and we have to ease up a bit because we are scaring off all the camels”.
    9. Outcome: unions pull heads in and ABCs gone. Cunners’ caucus now comprises the faithful who are all committed to a spot of head-bobbing at the bidding of Lord Protector designate.
    10. Supreme victory in sight 2017.
    11. The fatal flaw in the cunning plan is …. Cunners.

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  47. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    Not strictly on topic..
    But..
    For those of you who have had a wee look at the post on Bomber DBD Bradbury REINZ blog.
    What the Fuck!
    He must be the bastard love child of Chemical Ali and the Black Knight from Holy Grail.

    He is the sort of turkey who would call a severed leg a shaving cut.

    Slipping Mccarten in as campaign manager and calling him Chief of Staff to get parliamentary services to pay for this is where SMART MOVE begins and ends.
    How can they possibly imagine that every utterance around tax and revenue is not going to be met with a belly laugh and a request to know whether the rooter has paid the PAYE yet?
    Nothing will terrify middle NZ quicker than this character.
    Bomber DBD Bradbury REINZ stating that he wished he could have seen the faces of a number of right leaning individuals is laughable.. They are all still laughing at Cunliffe and this biblical cuntastrophe for Labour.

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  48. Zapper (967 comments) says:

    I would be more than happy if this had the desired effect of stealing more votes from the hard left.

    National can take another 4% or so off Labour, Labour take 4% off the Greens dropping them below the threshold so they only have any of their members who can win an electorate, NZ First stays below 5%, Peters gone for good (still drinking his way through taxpayers money, but at least now doing it in private). Norman can find somewhere else to try and implement communism, Turei can go and earn her own money to pay for her clothes and castle and we can get a genuine Green Party.

    I know I’m dreaming but it suddenly doesn’t seem completely unrealistic.

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  49. BeaB (2,084 comments) says:

    Cunliffe sowing more internal discord. Such fun!

    I wonder if the Left will now enjoy making fun of the way he talks the way they have mocked the PM.

    Or will that be different? Like everything else they make the rules on.

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  50. BeaB (2,084 comments) says:

    Loved seeing the tasteless extravagance in the Ukraine mansion of the deposed socialist leader.

    How is it these Lefties always live like plutocrats in posh houses?

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  51. lolitasbrother (590 comments) says:

    this is unbelievably good, Cullen on a suicide mission

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  52. RF (1,348 comments) says:

    Dear God. The madness of Cunliffe. He is nationals secret weapon. Having realised they lost the middle ground vote to the right they are now trying to cement the left wing vote. Thought they had this. This is pure gold.

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  53. Keeping Stock (10,184 comments) says:

    @ da vinci – you left one step out:

    12. Steal underpants

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/profit

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  54. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    Mr Barnsley B, dead right. He’s been on a very short leash for a while now. Got sprung “going to the office” a little too often. What the move to Wellington means I think is its over honey. Soon find out.

    But more importantly, riddle me this Batman…

    ABC’s astir; latest polls a slap; aging and flabby lineup, who are disloyal to a fault. What would history tell us to do? Simple. Bring in a hatchet man.

    For me, this appointment signifies that Cunliffe has accepted he cannot win the 2014 election, and hes going to make damned sure he doesn’t get pinned with the blame for the loss. Silent T knows this will bring a lurch to the left, McCarten will drive that – along with nailing a few tired old tossers to the wall – bye Trev :)

    Labour will lurch left, inhale more green voters and fight amongst themselves. Key et al will stand by looking imperious and trustworthy as this bunch tears itself apart. McCarten wants to drag labour left, and will do so, but cant see the long game – hes not that smart, too much time thinking with something other than his brain.

    He will reshape the labour party ready for 2017. But by then it will be game over. Silent T and McCarten think they have common goals, and that their issue – they don’t.

    Silent T just played the turkey who voted for Christmas :)

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  55. kiwi in america (2,480 comments) says:

    Trotter and the lefties on the Daily Blog and The Stranded have been goading Cunliffe to make some grand statement to excite the left and they got their way. McCarten is as hard core a lefty as Cunliffe could respectably appoint. Having had brief dealings with McCarten I can assure readers that he is every bit as ruthless, egotistical, divisive and disdainful of centrist Labour members as he has been described by others. This move will hasten the inroads Labour has already made into the Greens and ensures the participation of Labour’s activist base so in that regard, the appointment will achieve a narrow modicum of success.

    BUT – the hard left are clueless as to how middle NZ perceive them and their policies. Did Cunliffe think that a left leaning media would just forget that McCarten’s union blew off $100k of PAYE? It is important to understand the gravity of this non payment. Not paying your income tax is naughty but something the IRD will allow some leeway and come an agreeable scheme of arrangement. PAYE and GST are considered trust funds – in other words the employer holds those funds temporarily on behalf of the Crown until the next month’s return (in the case of PAYE) or the next GST return filing period (varies depending on turnover and type of business). Not paying the government’s funds you have temporarily held in trust for it is a much more serious offence and the more egregious cases end up with custodial sentences being dished out. It’s surprising McCarten has not faced more serious censure.

    The unpaid tax will be an easy hit for government ministers to make on Cunners. But from an electoral standpoint, McCarten’s lengthy and aggressive union background will make it so very much easier to paint Labour as in the lap of the unions undoing any of Cunliffe’s centrist overtures. McCarten does not do centrist diplomacy. He takes no prisoners. He will declare war on the ABCs and try to drive them out of the party. Cunliffe thought he was unpopular in caucus before – wait until McCarten starts to throw his weight around. The internecine warfare will be another delicious sight for the right to enjoy over a slab of Speights and plenty of popcorn!

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  56. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    I thought DPF wanted companies to pay tax on profits. According to the article:

    “[Unite] reported a net deficit of $33,700 in the 2009 year and made a loss of $15,500 the year before.”

    So Unite weren’t making profits.

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  57. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    Read s143A of the Tax Administration Act 1994. Specifically, a person commits an offence under that section if they:

    knowingly applies or permits the application of the amount of a deduction or withholding of tax made or deemed made under a tax law for any purpose other than in payment to the Commissioner;

    Matt McCarten has prima facie breached this section vis a vis Unite. Maximum penalty 5 years’ imprisonment.

    How on earth can Labour be taken seriously on one of their core policies – reducing tax avoidance – when their leader’s chief of staff has arguably gone one better (worse?) and committed tax evasion?

    BTW ross – interesting to see you support employers dipping into their employees’ wages when times get tough (i.e. when a political campaign to fund comes around).

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  58. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    Youre status as a complete cock is untouched woss.

    McCarten was responsible for the PAYE he deducted from the unions staff. It wasn’t paid. Feel free to dissimulate your way out of that.

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  59. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    By the way, did Terry Serepisos ever clear his debts with IRD?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business/9220244/Bankruptcy-fails-to-rein-in-Terry-Serepisos

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  60. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    I don’t know, did he campaign on a moral pedestal? Did he moralise constantly – like all idiot lefty’s – about evil employers and not paying their fair share?

    Hmmm, I think not.

    And you wonder why we laugh in your general direction. The hypocrisy of the left truly knows no bounds.

    You sir are a cock.

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  61. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    You admit that it’s ok in some circumstances to not pay tax. Has the Right ever been so corrupt?

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  62. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    You admit that it’s ok in some circumstances to not pay tax.

    ross, as KIA points out, PAYE is not the organisation’s money, it’s held in trust on behalf of the employee. So by not paying it, Unite hasn’t only ripped us off, its ripped off its own employees. And you and Cunliffe’s new CoS appear to hallucinate that’s righteous.

    Has the left ever been so corrupt?

    P.S. Using the left’s logic, the state provides jobs. If the state doesn’t have enough money to provide jobs because people don’t pay their tax, what should happen to those people?

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  63. Left Right and Centre (2,887 comments) says:

    Another nail in the election coffin.

    Is there any room left on that coffin for more nails by now ?

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  64. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    Jesus ross. WTF has that weasel Serepisos got to do with the fact that Viscount Cunners’ new fanboi is dodgy and wrote out cheques with money that belonged to someone else? Oh, but then of course, pinching money was legitimised by Helen wasn’t it?

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