Brethren taking subsidies for illegal discrimination

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 pm, January 13th, 2011 - 64 comments
Categories: business, corruption, crime, kiwisaver, religion - Tags: ,

Another great piece of work from I/S at No Right Turn:

According to a report in the Herald, the Exclusive Brethren have set up their own KiwiSaver scheme. That’s not particularly interesting, but what caught my attention is that the scheme will only be offered to members of the cult:

In its prospectus, released just before Christmas, the BCF scheme made it clear that membership would be – no surprises here – exclusive: sorry Richard, this one’s for the bros only.

This is, of course, illegal. Religious belief is a prohibited form of discrimination, and no institution is allowed to discriminate on those grounds in the provision of goods and services…

…The Brethren are collecting government subsidies to engage in this discriminatory behaviour (in fact, that’s the point – using KiwiSaver subsidies as a line of easy credit to boost their businesses). That should not be permitted. Taxpayer’s money should not be used to subsidise discrimination.

I assume that the responsible Ministers, Peter Dunne and Bill English, will immediately be seeking answers and stop the Exclusive Brethren from engaging in illegal discrimination and receiving taxpayer money to do it.

If you’re unhappy about your money being used by the Brethern to subsidise their business, tell IRD you want to switch to their provider – BCF Finance – and demand to know why when your application is rejected.

64 comments on “Brethren taking subsidies for illegal discrimination”

  1. Deadly_NZ 1

    I assume that the responsible Ministers, Peter Dunne and Bill English, will immediately be seeking answers and stop the Exclusive Brethren from engaging in illegal discrimination and receiving taxpayer money to do it.

    If it wasn’t so serious it would be a funny line, or at least a tui moment. But Please please do not use the word responsible in the same sentence as those 2 names unless it has the other 2 letters needed IR in front of the word..
    But whats to stop Joe public from applying to their Kiwi Saver scheme , and get knocked back they appeal their decision I am sure the works could get gummed up that way, and get enough people to do it should cost em a pretty penny.

  2. QoT 2

    (Psst, Eddie, typo in the headline)

  3. Chris73 3

    As a self-proclaimed right-winger I’m not happy about this and I hope some action is taken

    • Neptune 3.1

      So do I Chris73. Just become a self proclaimed Left – winger!

    • I would be unhappy if I was a self professed right winger as well …

      BTW I do not know how I/S does it. He always seems to be on the cutting edge of stories.

      • Chris73 3.2.1

        As I see it either the Bretheren are either acting within the rules which were set up by Labour (who to be fair probably didn’t consider this type of thing happening) which means this is a loophole which needs to be closed or they’re straight out breaking the law which means the police need to be involved

        But for me its nothing to do with their religion as this could easily be replicated by a maori tribe or gang like the hells angels etc etc

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Of course it’s to do with their religion as the discrimination that they’re perpetrating is based solely on their religion.

      • Chris73 3.2.2

        What do you mean you don’t know how I/S does it? I/S got it from the Herald

        • Mickysavage 3.2.2.1

          Please reread my comment. I said “cutting edge” I did not say “break”. I/S day in day out manages to blog on immediate issues of note.

          As to your other rules I suspect that Cullen relied on the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act which says words to the effect “though shalt not discriminate on the grounds of religion”. There was no need to have any more rules as the rules were already there.

          Good attempted diversion thought. It is not Blinglish’s or Dunne’s fault for approving the scheme, it is Cullens because, well, it must be …

          • luva 3.2.2.1.1

            Micky, what are English and Dunne responsible for exactly?

            Closing the loophole or enforcing the law?

            • Bright Red 3.2.2.1.1.1

              enforcing the law.

              what loophole are you talking about?

              • luva

                That is my point BR, if there is no loophole to fix then there is no problem with the law and there is no need for English and Dunne to be in this debate.

                They make the rules; others enforce them

                It is the role of the Police and Courts to enforce the law. Lets not confuse the respective roles just so we can associate Bill English with this.

                • burt

                  luva

                  I don’t think the lefties ever understood that there is a separation of judicial roles between the legislature, the police and the courts. If they did they would not have supported Labour deciding that Labour didn’t break the law. Move on.

          • Chris73 3.2.2.1.2

            Um I thought I was being pretty fair actually, I imagine it would be difficult to imagine a relgious group starting up a kiwisaver scheme (I certainly hadn’t thought about it untill the article in the herald) or they’re acting illegally

            So I wasn’t actually pointing the finger at anyone rather just stating the facts and what can/should be done

            I don’t think this is a political point rather just tightning some rules

            • mcflock 3.2.2.1.2.1

              The problem as far as I can see is not who created the scheme, but the fact this particular fund has membership restricted on the basis of religion. Given that some churches employ their minister/pastor/priests and various ancillary staff directly, I would be surprised if they didn’t make a decision to create a Kiwisaver fund like any other company.

              As for “blame”, I agree with other commentators that it is a job for folk like the police (or being BoR I assume it’s the job of the Human Rights Commission if they receive a formal complaint? Then firing it through to I assume the IRD if the HRC determines the BoR has been WIA, but the decision has to be formally and fairly arrived at before the referral is TBA? I’m sure procedural regulations can be obtained via OIA or some other TLA 🙂 ) .

  4. Liberty 4

    Labour set up kiwi saver. Now out smarted by the EB .
    Doesn’t say much for the then Minister in charge. A Mr Cullen.

    • Marty G 4.1

      how has Labour been outsmarted? The EB is acting illegally, not exploiting a loophole. National is in charge (this provider only just registered) – it’s their job to stop this breach of human rights.

      not looking too smart, son.

      • liberty 4.1.1

        It is not illegal. The EB are just astute at business.
        This bitch by the labour apologist has more to do with religious intolerance .

        • prism 4.1.1.1

          It seems that Exclusive Brethren are astute at business and money control and exploiting it to advance their narrow beliefs. It is uncomfortable to have religious groups or perhaps cults, using government funds to bolster their exclusive schemes. Are religious groups likely to dispense gratuities to those in power is one thing that concerns people? Does this threaten the separation of church and state? Concern expressed is not simple religious intolerance.

    • Tiwkcuf …

      If you think Cullen is responsible you need professional help bro ..

    • luva 4.3

      If it is a loophole then English and Dunne are responsible for closing it.

      If there is no loophole and the EB are breaking the law, then Parliament has done it’s job and the relevant authorities are responsible for enforcing the law.

      Which one is it?

      • mickysavage 4.3.1

        I hate to get legal but the Government Actuary decides on registration of Kiwisaver schemes. Under section 116 of the Kiwisaver Act “[a] scheme is eligible to be a KiwiSaver scheme if … it is … established and governed by a trust deed that is interpreted and administered in accordance with New Zealand law.”

        The bold bit should mean that the Actuary has some powers. Further provisions (s 169) give the Actuary considerable powers over registered schemes.

        There appears to be nothing wrong with the law. Perhaps a complaint should be made.

  5. TightyRighty 5

    I’m unhappy about this. But I’ll be vilified for being unhappy about my money being used to support gang members on the Dole on this site. So where is the balance? Whoops, I know you are partisan, so really where is the story? As I bet more gang members are claiming the Dole than bretheren claiming kiwisaver. Any takers?

    • Tigger 5.1

      WTF? If someone can make sense of this logic then they’re doing better than me…

      • QoT 5.1.1

        Apparently there’s some Black Power-members-only KiwiSaver scheme we haven’t heard about. TR’s going to break the story any day now. Otherwise he’s just making a hilarious false equivalence between “an organisation breaking the law by discriminating on the basis of religion while administering a scheme for which it receives government funds” and “people getting benefits while being people I Don’t Like”.

  6. highrestandard 6

    I blame Sarah Palin.

  7. SjS 7

    I work for local government, and was offered the chance to join the exclusive local government kiwisaver scheme available only to employees of local government (I declined and went with GMK, as it is NZ owned an apparently responsibly invested, but I would have been better putting the money in the bank). Is this somesort of discrimination as well? Or is it something that is actually legal under kiwisaver? Genuine question … I actually don’t know the answer…

    • marco 7.1

      Most local and central government departments have their own schemes that are similar to Kiwisaver but not managed the same way therefore they are treated as employee schemes. I’m unsure if this would be the case for your particular local body though, it would probably pay to check.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      “(I declined and went with GMK, as it is NZ owned an apparently responsibly invested, but I would have been better putting the money in the bank).”

      I too am with GMK, and think they’re great. They say (probably not often enough) that their guiding principal is wealth protection, followed by growth. If you watch the charts for performance over 2008-2009, you’ll see that the other providers dropped off far more than GMK did, and therefore had steep return.

      I think my account is sitting at just slightly positive, something like 0.9% up. I would’ve done better on a return basis to have put the money in the bank, *except* that ignores the matching money I get from the government and from my employer. So while I might be only 0.9% up on the total value, actually I’m (roughly) 200% up on what money I have actually invested myself, and I’d like to see a bank interest rate that gives you 200% return.

      • SjS 7.2.1

        point taken lanthanide

        I joined at the begining of 2009 so missed seeing GMK not loose all my money (but that was also a part of my decision to go with them, along with the responsible investment). But since then I’ve had about the same as you at around 1%, but once I count the extra money from my employer and the credits I am better off. It would be great it I could put the extra money from my employer and my own in the bank, but then that would be against the point of kiwisaver (which I think is a good idea) as not everyone is a good saver unless they can’t get it back out again.

        • Lanthanide 7.2.1.1

          Yeah, I joined in 2009 also. After my work announced a pay freeze (normally there’s an annual pay rise for everyone) I figured I’d force them to give me a 2% one. Also I was hoping to get in on the rebound in share prices, but unfortunately there’s the ~3 month lag time between when you join and when the IRD actually hands the money over to your provider, so I missed out on the big growth months.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    Not a lot of details available from the Government Actuary
    BCF Kiwisaver
    Registration Number: 10071
    Balance Date: 31 March
    Default Provider: No
    Commencement Date: 02 September 2010
    Names of Trustees: AROTAHI TRUST LIMITED
    Trustee Address for Service: 160 BUSH ROAD
    ALBANY, AUCKLAND 2578

  9. nadis 9

    You guys need to read the legislation. Put aside questions of we like/don’t like the brethren. What they are doing is perfectly legal and provided for in relevant legislation, from the original kiwisaver bill to the 2010 Financial markets bill.

    There is a category of Kiwisaver funds called “restricted funds”. Currently about 9 of them covering religious groups (bretheren, anglicans), industries (waterfront workers), occupations (architects, engineers and surveyors, seafarers, doctors) etc.

    The legislation allows a restricted scheme with the following clause…..

    A restricted kiwi saver scheme must (amongst other things):

    “restrict membership of the scheme, in its conditions of entry of members to the scheme and in the way in which those conditions are applied, to 1 or more classes of persons who are employed by a particular employer, or who belong to a particular profession, calling, trade, or occupation, or to a particular association, society, or other body having a definable community of interest.”

    I think “definable community of interest” appropriately covers the brethren or any other religious, trade, racial, professional or other organisation that wants to retain its special identity in the Kiwisaver world.

    I imagine the Bretheren have some kind of organisation or society, membership of which is a prerequisite to enrol in their scheme. Just like any other restricted scheme.

    I think you should be more concerned about that horrible SRF kiwisaver scheme. Did you know that unless you are a member or family of a member of one particular union that you can’t join that scheme? It’s a disgrace. My taxes are going to prop up a kiwisaver scheme just for unionists and their families! Just wait till a Maori organisation sets up a Kiwisaver scheme for members of their tribal organisation. That would be racist right? Even more disgraceful.

    Ngai Tahu have set up a non-restricted scheme “iwisaver”, not much of a stretch to see them or another iwi (appropriately) setting up a restricted scheme. And why not? Why also not a scheme just for indian small business owners and their families, or mongrel mob members and their families. All these members are getting exactly the same government benefit as any KS member in a non-restricted scheme.

    So, do we object to anglicans, unionists, professionals, doctors etc “collecting government subsidies to engage in this discriminatory behaviour” or is it just that when the brethren do it that we don’t like it?

    • Chris73 9.1

      Well played

    • Nadis can you state which section you are quoting from?

      The only reference I can see to the passage that you quoted is from the Financial Markets (Regulators and KiwiSaver) Bill 2010 which as far as I am aware is not law as yet.

      Besides I do not see that it allows for state support of a religion in the way you suggest.

  10. Bill 10

    As far as I’m aware, an employee of a Brethren business does not themselves have to be a Brethren (That would be religious discrimination.) So, if the scheme covers employees in their businesses, there is no discrimination. No?

    • burt 10.1

      Bill

      You might be right but remember that the EB campaigned against Labour in 2005. Labour have since been on a crusade against them changing the law so that they couldn’t do what they legally did in 2005 because it upset the poor Labour party and made them steal tax payers money to defend themselves from free speech.

    • Lanthanide 10.2

      A friend used to work at a company owned by the brethren. She said it was very weird and they were quite open about their religion, but there was nothing stopping anyone from working there depending on their religion. Having said that, though, I think that if you weren’t part of the sect you’d have a hard time advancing up the promotion ladder.

  11. nadis 11

    I haven’t read their trust deed but by the looks of what David Chaplin wrote in the herald it is not a workplace based scheme. I imagine it will be open only to individuals who are members of a particular society, all of whose members happen to be brethren or fellow travelers.

    Here is the language from the restricted Anglican scheme:

    The Koinonia Fund is principally intended to provide retirement benefits for employees of persons whose primary activities are, in the opinion of the Trustees, Christian mission or ministry and other persons who the Trustees consider have served their church in a particular way or made a particular commitment to Christian outreach. However, the Trustees may also (in their sole discretion) admit other persons, or classes of person, as members of the Fund.

    Question: More or less offensive than the brethren scheme?

  12. Deadly_NZ 12

    Now this will allow the EB’s to give more money to shonky donkey to get him reelected sohe can finish what he and Blinglish started. The complete meltdown of NZ’s economy, then they can call in their mates at the IMF to bail us out just like they did in Ireland. The first thing the IMF did there was Take the 20 billion euro’s in the superfund for themselves. All the working mans Money gone, however the poli’s and bankers are laughing at a complete stitch up of the irish people. Well they have an election coming in soon so maby these theives will get their marching orders and the damage they have done can be undone

    http://dailybail.com/home/may-god-protect-global-bankers-irish-leaders-castigated-as-g.html
    Thanks to Johnm i pinched his link.

    Or maybe Key is angling for an invitation to become a member of this exclusive club https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Bilderberg_Group

  13. nadis 13

    I think you fail the logic test Deadly. How does this profit the brethren above them just investing in say the Tower kiwisaver scheme?

    I would guess they have probably spent minimum $200 k in legal fees setting up a kiwisaver scheme – given their small membership, hard to see it making money for them, particularly after employing a few staff to run it. Again I would guess that this is more about control – they want a kiwisaver scheme but want to control the investment strategy and obviously have a black and white list of suitable investments.

    And I didn’t realise the brethren were mates with the IMF – that’s an interesting connection no one else had made. Forget bilderberg, this is the real conspiracy – in fact you can see John Key sitting next to 2 brethren at the far end of the table

    Funny thing about Bilderberg is that left wing nutters think it is a right wing conspiracy to steal the worlds resources for a small elite (typically Jewish bankers), whereas right wing nutters think it is a conspiracy to impose a new order one world government led by the godless UN with associated concentration camps and black helicopters. Maybe both sides are right?

    • Blighty 13.1

      you can’t refuse to supply a good or service on the basis of religion. That is the problem. It is not that the EB as individuals can join Kiwisaver.

  14. ghostwhowalksnz 14

    Soon we will have the Right Wing Resistance/National Front setting up their own Kiwisaver, with rules to exclude Jews, Maori/Polynesians ,Chinese and so on. All based on the same interpretation that EB have of the rules.

    I dont think so

    I cant see any judge allowing a clause in some financial legislation over riding the ban on discrimination based on religion. Others may have rules restricting members to ‘missionaries’ or trade union members , but those groups themselves are open to a wider membership and dont explicitly rule out other ethnic or religious groups.

  15. Akldnut 15

    They must have started doing this just recently because BCF Finance wasn’t on the list of Providers as at 8/11/2010.
    http://www.kiwisaver.govt.nz/providers/ks-providers.html

    According to the IRD you can change your KiwiSaver scheme at any time,………If you want to change your scheme, you must apply directly to the provider of the scheme you want to join. Your new provider will then arrange for your savings to be transferred from your old scheme to the new one. You’ll be notified of the transfer.
    You may be charged a transfer fee by your old scheme and will need to check this with your provider.

  16. Glee McPerkins 16

    Why is the man in the picture putting USA dollars in his pocket?

    • Marty G 16.1

      it’s our stock thumb image for corruption – businessman pocketing the cash. Don’t have one with NZD.

      • jcuknz 16.1.1

        Surely it is not to hard for somebody to do a bit of editing …I would offer to assist if wanted if nobody closer to you has the skills. I assumed it was a legal safeguard, that it is illegal to copy our own currency?.

      • Glee McPerkins 16.1.2

        Surly you could photograph someone in a suit putting NZ dollars in his pocket?

  17. jcuknz 17

    What a load of rabble rousing twaddle …. The Brethren are running their own super scheme for members .. just like I was a member of National Provident and Government Superannuation schemes.
    Both restricted to those eligible to join.

    How on earth can it be illegal? Basically the country needs people to save rather than splurge so I say good luck to them in defending their enterprise against the whingers and whiners.

    I have no connection with the group.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1

      Its NOT a super scheme for their own members. Its a registered Kiwisaver scheme. As such it gets a lot of government subsidies which wouldnt apply to an ordinary super scheme.

  18. Swampy 18

    This is actually nonsense. Kiiwsaver schemes are allowed to have membership qualifications so that only people meeting membership criteria can enter them.

    Another example of getting on your high horse without checking the legislation first, dont you just laugh at how all these lefties do that when they know that the legislation was passed by Parliament and all they have to do is stop trying to pull wool over peoples eyes by making these stupid allegations.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 18.1

      membership yes , restriction on members solely on religious grounds, no.

      You can have special cases for ‘advancement’ of groups which have suffered from discrimination, clearly EB doesnt come into this category.

      For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—
      (a)sex, which includes pregnancy and childbirth:
      (b)marital status, which means being—
      (i)single; or
      (ii)married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship; or
      (iii)the surviving spouse of a marriage or the surviving partner of a civil union or de facto relationship; or
      (iv)separated from a spouse or civil union partner; or
      (v)a party to a marriage or civil union that is now dissolved, or to a de facto relationship that is now ended:
      (c)religious belief:
      (d)ethical belief, which means the lack of a religious belief, whether in respect of a particular religion or religions or all religions:
      (e)colour:
      (f)race:
      (g)ethnic or national origins, which includes nationality or citizens.

      Note lack of religious belief is a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  19. Swampy 19

    Its a scheme where theyre entitled to define who is allowed to be a member that is the right of any scheme or society they can impose choice of members

    As you can see there are other schemes that impose qualifications on which religions can join there schemes

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