Unions back Labour and Greens with $120,000

The Labour and Green party coffers will receive a $120,000 boost for the election from unions that are also hoping to mobilise thousands of members to push for a change of Government.

The Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) yesterday confirmed donations of $22,000 to the Labour Party and $6000 to the Greens.

This followed the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union's $60,000 donation to the Labour Party and $15,000 to the Greens.

Both unions are affiliated to the Labour Party.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union national president Aubrey Wilkinson said the union would also donate about $10,000 to Labour and the Greens, but exact figures were being finalised.

He said the union was considering a donation to Internet-Mana, but "considering Kim Dotcom's on board, I'm not sure they will be lacking any funds".

Maritime Union national secretary Joe Fleetwood said the union would probably give $10,000 to Labour, but the figure would not be confirmed until the end of the week.

SFWU national secretary John Ryall said the union was also asking members if they wanted to be more active in trying to change the Government.

He said that might entail mobilising members not only to vote, but to vote for change.

The Dairy Workers Union has yet to make a decision on donations. Last election, it gave $27,200 to Labour.

The Meat Workers and Related Trades Union, also an affiliate of Labour, has yet to confirm donations. Last election, it gave $18,000 to Labour.

"We support a number of political parties - Labour, Mana, the Greens," said national secretary Graham Cooke.

"We support any party that supports working people that are not getting a fair share of the cake." He said the union could give donations to more than one party.

A spokesman for FIRST union said it would not be making donations.

"But we're telling our members we want a change in Government, and loosely saying Labour, Greens and Mana are the ones we would endorse for workers' rights, in general."

The Public Service Association, the country's largest union with 58,000 members, is non-partisan and does not donate.

However, it is participating in the Council of Trade Unions' Get Out And Vote campaign.

CTU president Helen Kelly said it did not donate but might highlight specific policies.

A number of non-affiliated unions, including the NZEI and PPTA teachers' groups, do not support particular parties or donate.

A PPTA spokeswoman said: "Our members are teachers and they vote all over the political spectrum."

- By Derek Cheng of the New Zealand Herald

Never sent me a cheque

I have been a member of three of these unions and have experience with them doing nothing to change the low wages offered to me.  If they had been doing their job right their comrades would not have fallen so far behind but they can shell out tensw of thousands of bucks to parties already proven to be part of the problem no worries. A blue or red National is how I see them. Both do nothing but raise the national debt and enrich their cronies. [Abridged]

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