Kiwi Polemicist

October 7, 2008

Election 2008: union support for the Labour Party

The Service & Food Workers Union has been conducting a phone “survey” of its members, and I have obtained a recording of one of these calls which was made today.

They stated that the answers would be “confidential and will only be used by the Union to help us with our election campaign“: so there’s no doubt about it, they’re running a campaign. They also said “we’re just ringing around all our membership just to get an idea of where members’ thoughts are in terms of who they’re voting for so that we know where to pitch our election campaign“.

Question 1) Do you know that under our MMP voting system you have two votes, a party vote and an electorate vote? So there are two ticks on the voting paper.

Q2) When it comes to political parties, which one of these would you usually support? Labour, National, Greens, the Maori Party, or another party?

Q3) Did you vote in the last election in 2005? Which party did you give your party vote to?

Q4) The election this year, which party will you be party voting for?

Q5) I’m just going to run through some of the policies of the Labour-led government, and if you can just tell me whether you support or don’t support these:

The first one is that the Labour-led government has put money into health, which has allowed for cheaper doctors visits and prescriptions. Is that something that you support?

They’ve also introduced the Working For Families Package, which gives a tax credit to lower income families with children. Do you support that?

They’ve increased the minimum wage every year so it’s now up to twelve dollars an hour [do you support that?]

They’ve introduced an extra week’s annual leave, so we’ve gone up from having three weeks to having four weeks. Is that something that you support?

Q6) A lot of our members have said they’re worried about a change of government at the election in November because they feel that some of the National Party policies are going to be quite threatening to the Union. So just some of the National Party policies some of the things the National Party has said that they will do. I’m just going to run through and if you just say whether you’re concerned or not concerned.

The National Party has said that they will allow employers to sack a worker within the first 90 days of a new job without having to give any reason. Is that something that concerns you?

The National Party has said that they will sell KiwiBank to overseas owners [does that concern you?].

They’ve also said that if elected they would change the KiwiSaver retirement scheme so that employers will not have to put as much money in [does that concern you?]

Finally, the National Party has said that they will allow Australian insurance firms to get involved in the accident compensation scheme in order to make a profit from it. Is that something that concerns you?

Note the use of the phrase “Labour-led government” which is also used by Helen Clark.

There are several statements of fact that are either questionable or simply wrong and I do not believe that this is a survey; the questions are obviously biased as a pitch for the Labour Party.

The Electoral Finance Act is so badly written that it is hard to know what is third party spending, but if this qualifies as third party spending the SFWU could be in trouble. According to Wikipedia they have 23,000+ members: $120,000 divided by 23,000 equals $5.21, and it is not hard to imagine each of these calls costing $5.21 by the the time you count wages, office overheads, phone bills, and the like. In other words the SFWU may blow their spending limit on this sham survey alone.

Click here for an update to this post.

See also my posts here and here.



  1. I am utterly shocked at the blatant wording of that.

    Comment by Mr Dennis — October 7, 2008 @ 1:16 pm

  2. Yes, it’s not subtle; if I hadn’t heard the recording it would have been hard to believe. If the union wants to do a sales pitch that’s fine but (a) they were dishonest about the motives of the “survey” and (b) they are using the funds of members who may or may not want their money used for that purpose.

    As regards (b), people can choose to not join the union, but pay and conditions are often worse for people on individual contracts and that puts people in a difficult position.

    A sales pitch might also be ok if the unions backed those policies that were best for workers, but the unions are a nest of Socialists/Communists so they always back Labour and the Greens, despite policies such as the minimum wage that actually harm workers.

    Comment by kiwipolemicist — October 7, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

  3. […] unions support for the Labour Party In an earlier post I gave a transcript of a “survey” done by the Service and Food Workers Union which I […]

    Pingback by Update: unions support for the Labour Party « Kiwi Polemicist — October 24, 2008 @ 5:09 am

  4. […] In an earlier post I stated that I suspect that the Service and Food Workers Union used a “survey” as an election advertisement, but called it a survey so that it wouldn’t count towards […]

    Pingback by Response from the Electoral Commission « Kiwi Polemicist — October 31, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  5. […] and transparent” is questionable (particularly when they lied about the purpose of a “survey”) , as is “legitimate work on behalf of their members and supporters“. I question the […]

    Pingback by It’s not often that I agree with a Commie, but here’s an exception « Kiwi Polemicist — December 21, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

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