The NZ Herald reports on the CTU’s plans to run a centralised focused campaign to re-elect a Labour Government. They state:
The union movement played a major role in Labour’s success in the 2005 election when it mobilised to get a large number of people out to vote in South Auckland.
Ms Kelly vowed the same thing would happen again, noting that “we tipped the balance in deciding the election outcome”.
This is the true value of the unions to Labour in the campaign period. It’s not the extra advertising spend. It’s the free labour. There’s barely a union in the country that won’t be turning a blind eye to the fact that their staff are spending half their working days campaigning for Labour. And all that staff time is of course excluded under the Electoral Finance Bill even though it’s value is immense.
And even their paid advertising will be exempt under the Electoral Finance Bill. Let’s say the xxx Union does a glossy 10 page booklet explaining why its members should vote Labour. They’re very careful to use language to show it is directed to members.
But hey they can’t control what their members do with it. If a member ends up with 20 copies and leaves them in their workplace for non members – well that isn’t prohibited. And if a non members reads all about how National is going to sell the children of workers into slavery, then hey all the better.
If the Select Committee does proceed with the Bill, it will be interesting to see if they widen the exemption for communicating with your members to employers able to communicate to their staff, or companies to their shareholders.