Campaign for Change counts as Labour donations

David Farrar has received a letter from the Electoral Commission that says that donations for the controversial Matt McCarten concocted ‘Campaign for Change’ that involved international interns count as candidate donations.

McCarten had claimed the campaign was to be funded by a large donor but he is named as the large donor.

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

The letter from the Electoral Commission is on the Kiwiblog post.

No word yet on whether there has been an inquiry in Parliament about McCarten working on a campaign while potentially paid as a staffer.

More on Labour’s intern scheme

A couple of other points about Labour’s failed intern scheme.

From the document Labour Intern Scheme obtained by Newshub:

LabourInternScheme

That clearly claims that the project is being managed by the Labour Party, the CTU (NZ Council of Trade Unions) and AUSA (the Auckland Students Association?)

Labour Leader’s Auckland Office

It states “The project is managed out of the Trades Hall, Grey Lynn and the Grafton Road office”.

Grafton Road is where the Labour Leader’s Auckland Office is:

LabourGraftonOffice

Last August from Stuff:  Little’s chief of staff to head new Labour office in Auckland

Labour leader Andrew Little’s chief of staff Matt McCarten is poised to quit the job and head up a new Labour office in Auckland.

Little said he had not finalised who would staff the Auckland office, though he had been looking at setting it up for some time.

From early July and the Taxpayers’ Union – Speaker’s Warning To Labour Over Parliamentary Funds:

Some weeks ago Labour sent an email in the name of Paul Chalmers, the Project Manager at Labour House, to Labour’s Auckland supporters detailing how Andrew Little had opened a Auckland office that will be “the centre of the Labour and progressive movement in Auckland and the place to co-ordinate the local government and General Election campaigns.”

The email also called on “like-minded partners” to share office space and other facility resources.

It appears that Andrew Little and his MPs are pooling together taxpayer resources to open a campaign office in central Auckland for the Party and Phil Goff’s campaign for the Auckland mayoralty. Use of taxpayer resources in this way is clearly against the rules.

The Speaker has confirmed that the Parliamentary Service will be monitoring Mr Little’s spending and has written to him setting out the rules for taxpayer funded out-of-Parliament offices.

Checking up on use of Parliamentary funds isn’t new.

Speaker2Labour1

Speaker2Labour2

I presume this will be checked out over the intern scheme campaigning.

Movement for Change Ltd

The Labour Intern Scheme document also says “Financial risks and legal obligations are the responsibility of Movement for Change Ltd”.

The use of ‘Ltd’ denotes a limited liability company. I can’t find a company named ‘Movement for Change Ltd’ on the Companies Office register.

Perhaps there was an intention to set up a company that would be legally and financially responsible for the Campaign for Change but it appears that it never happened.

 

 

Labour campaign exposed as foreign workers rebel

Matt McCarten’s ‘Campaign for Change’ has been exposed as being far from the non-partisan project he claimed it would be, as Labour try to deal with rebelling foreign student election workers complaining about their housing conditions.

Key points:

  • McCarten’s ‘Campaign for Change’ is a front for the Labour Party, not non-partisan as claimed, and not aimed at “full political participation” in election.
  • Foreign students have been brought to New Zealand to work for Labour.
  • The students would not have been paid at all for their work.
  • The students have rebelled against cramped and poor living conditions.
  • They are being used in political deceit.

Last week I posted  McCarten’s ‘new’ project

1 million people did not vote in the last election. 250,000 people who were required to register did not. These numbers represent a crisis of democracy. This group overwhelmingly consisted of young people, workers in low paid occupations…

“The Campaign for Change will channel the energy and passion of New Zealander’s who want to see a change of Government this election.” says Director Matt McCarten.

This non-partisan campaign is being created in order to get people engaged and involved. The disconnect between a million citizens and political participation is a threat to our democracy.

The disconnect between what Labour are doing here and what they are campaigning against is a threat to their campaign.

The Campaign for Change is directed by the goal of full political participation.

It’s obviously not. It is using poorly housed foreign slave labour targeting votes for Labour.

Richard Harman at Politik posted Labour Party volunteer workers rebel over living conditions.

A Labour Party scheme to recruit  85 overseas students to campaign for the party during this year’s election has hit trouble.

The students rebelled over their accommodation and their disappointment with what was supposed to be a high powered learning programme but which appears to be not much more than political campaign drudge work.

Now party heavyweights have had to step in to rescue the programme and deal with the complaints from the students.

POLITIK has seen emails which show that the students have now held two meetings with party officials to complain about their accommodation on an Auckland marae and the work they were being asked to do.

Last night Labour’s General Secretary Andrew Kirton confirmed that there had been issues with the scheme which had arisen over the past week.

He said the scheme had been originated by Andrew Little’s former Chief of Staff, Matt McCarten, who now runs Labour’s campaign office in Auckland.

Not quite. Last week McCarten said he was leaving Labour to run a non-partisan ‘Campaign for Change’. Is he still based in Labour’s campaign office?

The heart of the row appears to be the living conditions under which the interns have been accommodated at Awataha Marae in Northcote.

The students met Labour party officials on Saturday to protest about their accommodation and were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

The interns were invited by Labour to help with its campaign.

Kirton says that Labour’s head office had been notified of these problems and had now stepped in.

The interns would leave Auckland and be distributed across the country. They would be billeted with Labour supporters.

Short lectures are promised from some top Labour Party names:

  • Andrew Little
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Helen Clark
  • “Current ambassadors to NZ.”
  • “Senior party stakeholders and staff, including the President and Chief of Staff “
  • Teleconferences with senior staff from US Democratic Party and UK Labour Party

However, Kirton said there were now problems organising these talks because the volunteers were no longer in one place.

This looks more like a farce than anything, but questions of consistency arise – Labour are campaigning against foreign workers, low wages and housing problems.

And it also raises questions about McCarten’s and Labour’s honesty in the campaign.

In Parliament yesterday Andrew Little questioned Bill English on “an acceptable moral standard” and “a cover-up” and “a public figure is lying”.

This isn’t as shoddy as the Barclay debacle, but when asking “Why should New Zealanders place any trust in him as Prime Minister” when McCarten, and Labour and Little by association, have been dishonest about the nature of the Labour campaign to get out votes.

Little said the Prime Minister “told media things that are untrue about his knowledge of Todd Barclay’s actions, and consistently failed the moral standards that New Zealanders expect of their elected leaders”.

Ill-considered deceits like Labour’s ‘Campaign for Change in which foreign student workers are being exploited.

Why should New Zealanders place any trust in Little as leader of Labour?

Is it any wonder many people don’t trust any politicians and can’t be bothered voting?

McCarten’s ‘new’ project

Last week I posted on news that Matt McCarten is leaving his Labour Party Auckland campaign job to run a campaign to get non voters out to vote – see Matt McCarten leaves Labour.

I called bull on his claim it would be a non-partisan campaign.

Yesterday more detail on his new role was detailed in a press release:  New Zealand launches ‘Campaign for Change’

With less than 100 days until the 2017 election, New Zealand launches ‘Campaign for Change’

1 million people did not vote in the last election. 250,000 people who were required to register did not. These numbers represent a crisis of democracy. This group overwhelmingly consisted of young people, workers in low paid occupations, as well as Māori, Pacifica, and other ethnic communities.

“The Campaign for Change will channel the energy and passion of New Zealander’s who want to see a change of Government this election.” says Director Matt McCarten.

This non-partisan campaign is being created in order to get people engaged and involved. The disconnect between a million citizens and political participation is a threat to our democracy.

The Campaign for Change is directed by the goal of full political participation. Through this campaign, we will aim to have 1 on 1 interviews with 100,000 New Zealanders who are not enrolled or who did not vote at the last election to not vote. We want to turn the issues these citizens care about into a campaign.

“We are launching our push for volunteers next week. If you want to be part of a campaign that promotes political participation, we want to hear from you!”

So the ex chief of staff for both David Cunliffe and Andrew Little, and ex campaign manager for Labour in Auckland, claims to be heading a non-partisan “Campaign for Change’.

“The Campaign for Change will channel the energy and passion of New Zealander’s who want to see a change of Government this election.”

Of course ‘change of Government’ means it must anti-National and pro-Labour.

That’s about as non-partisan as McCarten is being upfront about his political associations.

The programme is independent of any political party but is supported by progressive organisations in Auckland. The focus of political activity is voter enrolment and participation.

Facebook: Campaign For Change NZ

Twitter: @ChangeforNZ

Instagram: @CampaignForChangeNZ

Matt McCarten
Campaign for Change Director

This couldn’t be more blatant bull. “The focus of political activity is voter enrolment and participation” – and then Change is mentioned four times in succession, showing a highly partisan agenda.

This is not new. Unions tried to organise a ‘get out the vote’ campaign in 2014 and that turned out badly for Labour.

From a speech by First Union President, Syd Keepa, in 2014.

John Key has announced the Election date, which will
be Saturday 20 September; in six months’ time.
FIRST Union will be working hard to get its
members who are not enrolled to enrol, and will
encourage them to vote.

FIRST believes that the political parties that support
workers and people on the margins of society would be
the most practical political parties to vote for. However,
the CTU and FIRST Union campaign is not going to be
based around encouraging citizens who to vote for, but
around changing the government.

FIRST UNION PRESIDENT SYD KEEPA
879,000 eligible voters did not vote at the 2011
elections. Maori non-voters had the highest percentage
of non-voters at 25.9%, followed by Pacific Island non-
voters at 25.4%. Therefore to have a chance at a change
of government the job of FIRST Union is to get people
enrolled and out to vote. If 150,000 of those non-voters
had voted for a change of government in 2011, the
current National government would not be in power.
FIRST Union will be appealing to its membership to
enrol and vote, and will encourage its members to get
their whanau to do the same. With our members’ help,
we will hopefully be able to lock this government up
and throw away the KEY.

McCarten was secretary of the Unite union from 2005 to 2014, when he took over as chief of staff in Labour’s leader’s office.

Not long ago (last month) Labour was openly talking about similar campaigns to last the one last election and to what McCarten is now doing.

Newshub:  Data key to Labour’s campaign strategy

Opening a session on Labour’s campaign strategy at its congress on Saturday, the party’s campaign chairman and general secretary Andrew Kirton went for an understated introduction.

“The good news about this campaign is we’ve got a strategy – and we’re going to use it.”

That was perhaps a relief to delegates, given Labour’s disastrous showing in 2014.

But the party’s plan to turn out voters is more comprehensive than that sounds – demonstrated by the fact it invited media to a briefing the day before to proudly discuss its strategy.

Based on its current polling, Labour estimates it would get 720,000 votes out of the 2.4 million on offer, presuming an 80 per cent voter turnout (up from 550,000 votes in 2014).

Kirton said the party planned to grow its vote in two ways – trying to win over the 240,000 voters who backed National in 2014 but were open to supporting Labour, and the 200,000 voters “who we think like us” but didn’t vote at the last election.

The main focus at present was “growing our volunteer army” through its Community Action Network.

There is little difference between the unsuccessful get out the vote campaign in 2014, Labour’s strategy, and McCarten’s campaign.

I think that calling the Campaign for Change non-partisan is quite deceitful.

Will it work? Perhaps they have learnt lessons from the failure in 2014, but they may be deceiving themselves if they assume that if all the4 non-voters decided to vote they would back Labour.