Why Labour needs to distance themselves from the unions

Labour’s deep history is wedded with the union movement, but it is a history that they need to put behind them in order to advance.

It hasn’t helped that the unions shoe-horned their master into the leadership when Andrew Little won the leadership race.

Labour parties the world over are struggling with their union backers.

In Australia there is a long line up of union officials, former union officials who are now MPs and Labor MPs funded and backed by the unions being paraded before various Independent Commissions Against Corruption.

In the UK Unite union is the king-maker and essentially owns the Labour party through their massive multi-million pound donations.

In New Zealand Labour’s biggest donors are the unions, kicking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in members cash, time and manpower to assist Labour. The NZ Dairy Workers union kicked in $40,000 before the election last year. The EPMU (Andrew Little’s union) tipped in $60,000 in July 2014. These are small numbers when compared to the UK but they are Labour’s largest declared donors.

So, why would I say that Labour should distance themselves from the unions?

Well, because the latest UMR (Labour’s own pollster) mood of the nation report shows that unions are not well-loved.


I know it is hard to believe but there is less confidence in unions than there is in media generally…then again the EPMU is the journalist’s union.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

All institutions rose in this survey compared with the last survey, except unions, they dropped 2%. Confidence in parliament?rose 7% passing the union score of 23% confidence.

This is who Labour are wedded to…drop kicks who only enjoy 23% confidence in a survey commissioned by their own pollsters.

When you look at the other numbers you can also see Labour’s major problem.

They constant bag the Police (68% confidence rating)?and?the military (56% confidence rating) and push the barrow of the public service which only has a confidence rating of 39%, the same as newspapers.

So what we can see is that Labour is aligned with the group that Kiwis have the least amount of confidence in and attack the organisations they have the most confidence in.

Little wonder then that Labour can’t break the 30% threshold in public polls and are likely to sink slowly to the level of confidence that unions hold.

If Labour wants to do well they need to look forward and break the shackles of the union movement.

That will, of course, prove very difficult especially when unions control 20% of the vote for the leader, and caucus is full of their flunkies.

The New Zealand public has spoken though, and they have no confidence in unions and are likely to have no confidence in a party controlled by unions and led by a former union boss.