The Electoral Commission has decided the EPMU can register as a third party under the Electoral Finance Act despite the National Party spending big bucks to try to stop them in the courts.
Given the EPMU is a democratic organisation representing 50,000 Kiwi workers and the other unions (dairy workers, meat workers, maritime workers and service and food workers) that will come in on this decision probably represent another 100,000 or so, this is a significant win for a lot of people.
National Party activist David Farrar was behind the original complaint against the EPMU’s registration and, as one would expect, he is unhappy about the decision and considering challenging it.
It’s interesting that when first challenging the registration David claimed he was merely doing so to point out the problems with the law. At the time the suspicion was that he and his party were actually trying to stop the EPMU’s members, and the members of other unions, from having their democratic say.
Turns out is was probably the latter. In his piece on Kiwiblog last night he begins with:
I’ve just been told by a journalist that the Electoral Commission has decided to allow the EPMU and four other unions which have chosen to be affiliate members of the Labour Party to register as a third party. This means the five of them can collectively spend $600,000 attacking National on behalf of Labour.
You’ll note that there is no mention of the flaws of the EFA in that paragraph. David’s main concern is that unions will be able to campaign against National. It’s also interesting to note he claims unions will campaign against National on behalf of Labour.
I have no doubt that the unions will campaign against National, but considering National’s abysmal record of attacking the rights and wages of New Zealand workers and their clear intention to continue doing so, it’s abundantly clear the unions will be campaigning on behalf of their members.
I guess that kind of open democratic representation is a little too hard for the National Party and its minions to grasp.