REVEALED: Government’s favoured unions repaid $1.6 million in wage subsidies
The Taxpayers’ Union has today revealed that the Labour Party’s trade unions – First Union and E Tū – have repaid the full $1.6 million they received in wage subsidies. This comes after the Union called on them to do so earlier this year.
We’d like to congratulate these left wing unions on finally doing the right thing by taxpayers. As beneficiaries of steady revenue from membership dues (as opposed to donations), it was always questionable how these trade unions were ever eligible for the subsidy. The fact they could afford to spend money on campaigns to re-elect the Government last year suggests they were hardly strapped for cash.
The weird part is how secretive these unions have been about their decision to repay the subsidy. They could have announced it proudly and encouraged other unions to do the same, like we did. Instead, the repayment has only been made public thanks to an eagle-eyed Taxpayers’ Union researcher monitoring MSD records and confirming the repayment using the Official Information Act.
E Tū admitted to Stuff today that its repayment came after an audit by MSD found it didn’t qualify. First Union has not revealed whether it qualified in the first place.
Of course, the Taxpayers’ Union came forward to repay its wage subsidy, even though, unlike the left wing unions, we qualified to receive it. For us, it was a matter of principle: it’s difficult to claim you’re an independent watchdog when you’re funded by the Government.