Govt probe into union accounts nabs wharfies

The Maritime Union is next in the firing line over filing incomplete accounts – and that might be the tip of the iceberg.

The Registrar of Incorporated Societies, Neville Harris, has put his foot down over six years of incomplete Meat Workers Union accounts.

Mr Harris told NBR ONLINE his office is reviewing "financial statement compliance" by those incorporated societies which are registered unions.

“My office is in discussion with the Maritime Union of New Zealand on issues similar to that raised in the NZ Meat Workers and Related Trades Union matter.”

In today's Hidesight column in NBR Print, Rodney Hide says the Maritime Union, too, has been hiding millions of dollars in its accounts and the failure "goes back a long time".

The Maritime Union has 2800 members in 13 branches, with about half its membership in Auckland – the branch in dispute with Ports of Auckland.

Union national president Garry Parsloe says "heaps of unions" send their national accounts, but not their branch office accounts, to the registrar.

There is "nothing secretive in it", he says, as each Maritime Union member gets a copy of the branch accounts.

"If we have to conform with that, we'll conform with it.

"We're pretty relaxed about it from what I can understand because we have an auditor in every branch, we have returning officer at every branch and we put in tax returns and declare it all."

The issue will be considered by the union's national conference, which starts on Monday.

"Every branch is declared it's just that they seem to want it declared again in that way."

dwilliams@nbr.co.nz

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