McCarten and the intern scheme donor

When Labour’s intern scheme story broke in June it was reported that the scheme had been funded by one large donor.

Stuff: Two on Labour’s intern programme may have broken immigration rules as council member stands down

McCarten’s original plan was to have union funding, but it seems that was not forthcoming.

A big donor did back the plan, but their identity has not been released to the party or to the public.

Little said the party had disclosure obligations, both in terms of donors and spending. The party was dealing with that.

Little said the party had a moral responsibility to look after creditors and suppliers because there was the “potential” for a shortfall in funding raised for the intern scheme.

NZH: Mystery funder behind Labour intern programme – and party doesn’t know who

A mystery backer funded the volunteer scheme for overseas students working on Labour’s campaign – and even Labour does not know who it was or how much was involved.

Matt McCarten, who set up the scheme and ran it under his “Campaign for Change” organisation, told the Herald it was funded by a “private funder” who thought the scheme was a good idea.

McCarten’s confirmation of a “private funder” followed the release of a document obtained by Newshub which showed McCarten expected it to cost at least $150,000 and planned to get $100,000 from the FIRST and Unite unions, as well as seeking contributions from other unions and fundraising.

However, those unions said yesterday they had not put any funding in.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the party would disclose anything it was required to and would ensure third parties did as well. However, the party was still working out what funding there was in place.

At the time this sounded like avoidance from Labour (and it was successful avoidance). It should have been a simple matter of asking McCarten how the scheme had been funded to that stage.

The Herald also quoted Mike Treen, the Unite union’s National Director:

Treen said the union had taken part in the programme and planned to use the interns for a programme to enrol Unite members, but had not provided any direct funding.

No ‘direct funding’ is a curious reference.

David Farrar wrote to the Electoral Commission asking them to investigate the donation and funding. He published their response last week on Kiwiblog:  Electoral Commission rules Campaign for Change counts as Labour candidate donations

The Electoral Commission has investigated the Campaign for Change and made the following determinations:

  1. All funds spent by the Campaign for Change are Labour candidate donations and must be declared in returns after the election
  2. McCarten personally paid for the costs
  3. $65,095 was spent up until Labour formally took over
  4. The Campaign for Change was not a neutral enrolment exercise

McCarten had referred to a ‘private funder’, which clearly implies someone other than himself.

If McCarten was always the funder why did he mislead the public, and also apparently not divulge this to Labour?

This leaves questions unanswered.

Was there a private funder who backed out when the scheme became public and it looked likely the funder would be named as a donor?

Did McCarten donate with his own money? Or was it an indirect donation, with money given to him by ‘a private benefactor’, and then he handed that over to Labour?

Does it matter?

Labour seem finished with their use of McCarten’s services, and so they should be. He was always a high risk to them. McCarten must now surely be seen as politically toxic by any party.


Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  5th September 2017

    Does it matter? No. Surplus to requirements.

  2. Gezza

     /  5th September 2017

    Just by the by, McCarten turned on Al Jazeera tv this morning in a protest by McDonalds workers against zero hour contracts – outside Westminster in London – & got his name screened during a sound byte.

    • Gezza

       /  5th September 2017

      😳 Whoops – just spotted an error – he turned up on Aljaz tv …
      Big difference. Soz.

  3. Blazer

     /  5th September 2017

    lets try and give this dead nag….mouth to mouth…

  4. Ray

     /  5th September 2017

    Well our two resident spinners think it doesn’t matter.
    But this attempt by Labour to do “dirty politics *” has blown up in their face and finally McCarten’s reputation as a political wiz kid has been shown up as BS.
    * Of course it is dirty politics when you claim to be running a neutral scheme that not only signs people up to vote but is also working for Labours campaign so as to dodge having to declare the money spent.

  5. So it was a Labour project.
    It was funded by someone who doesn’t want to be named, so McCarten has said the money came from him.
    Blazer thinks its nothing – so obviously Fraser House knows it is definitely something

    The hard Left plan to take over the Labour Party and/or promote the Greens has failed with McCarten ousted – the old Alliance has been defeated in detail by Auntie H again…. that must burn somewhat

    I just wonder if McCarten have been stitched up by Auntie and Sir M via this Intern Business as a precursor to executing the last stage of their plan to axe Little from the Leadership and install the Puppet Cindy the Socialist?

    Tis all passing strange the sequence of events since the Cunliffe was dropped from the Leadership, Little took over in a Union coup, poor internal polling kept on being leaked to the public and then mysteriously Jacinda started to have a soft positioning campaign launched via friendly media in the Woman’s magazines division…

  6. Pete Kane

     /  5th September 2017

    “McCarten personally paid for the costs”. Oxymoron (and I’m not offering that lightly).

  1. McCarten and the intern scheme donor — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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