A year after meat industry commentator Allan Barber started to try to uncover the true state of the Meat Workers Union (MWU)’s finances, the consolidated accounts have been posted on the Incorporated Societies website.
In an item that has appeared in NZ Farmers’ Weekly this week and at his own blog, Allan says that in contrast to the original set of accounts which showed the national office as having net assets of less than $1 million, the true picture incorporating all the branches shows net assets of $5 million.
In his analysis, Barber says “there doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious in the corrected accounts” and that they provide an accurate figure of annual membership fees, expenses incurred on behalf of the membership and the assets owned by the MWU. Fixed assets of $1.051 million include a $481 million loan to the Canterbury Meat Workers Welfare Society, which has been used to buy holiday cottages which are available for the benefit of all of the union’s members, according to the annual accounts.
Two items of particular interest for Barber are the substantial amount of money in the bank, reported as well in excess of $4 million, and the fact the Union as a whole has run at a loss for at least the last two financial years.
Barber notes that annual subscriptions, almost certainly falling in line with lower livestock numbers and efficiency improvements, are not quite enough to cover the level of expenses but appear to be under control.
“So other than the cost and inconvenience of being required to present consolidated accounts for all branches and head office, this all seems as though it will be a fairly painless exercise in future,” says Barber.