Union membership return report 2016

The Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE) and the Registrar of Unions publish this report for the benefit of the government, unions, employers and employees, and the public.

Section 16 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) requires every registered union in New Zealand to file with the Registrar of Unions (the Registrar), by 1 June each year, an annual return of its membership numbers as at 1 March of that year.


Based on the returns received by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, total union membership as of 1 March 2016 was 357,120. This represents 17.7% of employees in the labour force. Total union membership decreased by 0.7% compared with the previous year.

One union is currently in the process of merging with E Tū and one is currently in liquidation.


As at 1 March 2016, there were 135 registered unions in New Zealand. During the 2015/16 year eight unions were wound up.


By 17 August 2016, 122 unions had provided their membership returns. Of those:

  • 47 unions (38.5% of those which provided their returns) have fewer than 100 members. Four unions had no members and two had less than 10 members. The Registrar is in contact with these unions to determine their future registration status.
  • Of the unions that provided gender details of their membership, 57.9% of members were women.
  • The 10 largest unions had a combined membership of 291,226. 


The Registrar followed a compliance process to remind unions of their filing obligations and to manage those that did not file. This process includes a series of reminder communications which exhausted all contact options.

Thirteen registered unions did not submit a return to the Registrar. Of those:

  • Six have been referred to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to seek an order directing the Registrar of Unions to cancel the union’s registration as their associated incorporated society is no longer registered and therefore the union no longer meets the union registration requirements;
  • One is in liquidation;
  • The remaining six unions will continue to be monitored by the Registrar, including their compliance and any status change of the associated incorporated societies.

These unions have been included in the list below with reference to the notes above.

Number of union members at 1 March 384,644 379,185 371,613 364,846 359,782 357,120
% change year on year +1.3 -1.4 -2.0 -1.8 -1.4 -0.7
 % of employees who are union members 20.9 20.5 20.1 18.6 18.3 17.7
 % of employed labour force who are union members 17.4 17.0 16.6 15.7 15.5 15.2
% change in employed labour force +1.8 +0.7 +0.3 +1.4 +3.2 +2.0


Graph showing union membership status within the labour force as described above

Union membership by industry and gender, 1 March 2016

IndustryFemaleMaleNot known*Total
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 806 1,850 1 2,657
Communication Services 1,952 2,098 61 4,111
Construction & Trade Services 469 6,796 4 7,269
Cultural and Recreational 2,936 3,175 57 6,168
Education 61,366 18,511 1 79,878
Electricity, Gas & Water Services 538 3,054 8 3,600
Finance, Insurance & Business Services 5,230 2,981 2 8,213
Government Administration & Defence 25,656 22,035 0 47,691
Health & Community Services 78,531 15,119 7,631 101,281
Manufacturing 10,304 34,630 50 44,984
Mining 100 1,165 1 1,266
Others 296 672 0 968
Restaurants & Accommodation 3,453 2,026 0 5,479
Transport & Storage 6,596 22,929 22 29,547
Wholesale & Retail 8,622 5,379 7 14,008
Total 206,855 142,420 7,845 357,120

* Five unions did not provide a full breakdown of their membership by gender.

Returns from individual unions

N/R denotes a union that had not filed its annual return by 17 August 2016.

Name of unionMembership as at 1 March 2016
Alloy Yachts Employees Federation Incorporated N/R1
Alternative Staff Group Incorporated 119
Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand Incorporated 28
Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand Southern Incorporated 3,738
Ambulance Officer's Workplace Union Incorporated 58
Associated Council Employees Incorporated 53
Association of Academic Staff at CPIT Incorporated 172
Association Of Professionals and Executive Employees Incorporated 2,616
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Incorporated 4,338
Aviation and Marine Engineers Association Incorporated 2,415
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Staff Association Incorporated 214
Bay Union Group Incorporated 400
Bureau Staff Association Incorporated 133
Canterbury and Regions Totalisator Employees Association Incorporated 132
Cape Foulwind Drivers, Operators and General Workers Union Incorporated 21
Central Amalgamated Workers Union Incorporated 2,227
Central Staff Collective Incorporated N/R
Christ's College Academic Staff Association Incorporated 63
CIE Workers Union Incorporated 3
Combined Employees Association Incorporated 500
Combined Hospital Individual Contract Union Incorporated 39
Corrections Association of New Zealand Incorporated 2,925
DOTSE Staff Association Incorporated 51
E Tu Incorporated 55,006
Eastern Bay Independent Industrial Workers Union 1995 Incorporated 57
Eastern Civil Engineers Union Incorporated 0
Electrical Union 2001 Incorporated 110
Featherston Mill Workers' Union Incorporated 18
FIRST Union Incorporated 26,489
Foreign Service Association Incorporated 482
H H B Workers Union Incorporated 107
Hastings District Council Employees Society Incorporated 124
Hawkes Bay Workers Union Incorporated N/R2
Hostel Managers Association Incorporated N/R1
Hutt Valley Society of Independent Bus Drivers Incorporated 40
IAG NZ Staff Association Incorporated 566
Independent Electrical Workers Union 1995 (Incorporated) 36
J Ballantyne Staff Association Incorporated 118
King's College Teachers Association Incorporated 81
Legal Workers Union of New Zealand Incorporated 27
M.E.U. Society Incorporated 114
Manufacturing & Construction Workers Union Incorporated 1,510
Maritime Union of New Zealand Incorporated 2,563
Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (New Zealand) Incorporated 799
Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service Incorporated 857
Napier City Council Staff Association Incorporated 124
National Union of Public Employees Incorporated 1,302
Nelson Collective Union Incorporated 115
New Zealand Advertising Guild & Associates Incorporated 36
New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association Industrial Union of Workers Incorporated 2,383
New Zealand Ambulance Association Incorporated 165
New Zealand Bakers Pastrycooks and Related Employees Union Incorporated 513
New Zealand Building Trades Union Incorporated 0
New Zealand Central Baking Trades and Related Trades Employees Union Incorporated N/R
New Zealand Dairy Workers Union - Te Runanga Wai U Incorporated 7,650
New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa Incorporated 46,669
New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild Incorporated 561
New Zealand Furniture Manufacturing and Associated Workers Union Incorporated 168
New Zealand Halal Slaughterman Union Incorporated N/R1
New Zealand Meat Workers and Related Trades Union Incorporated 13,550
New Zealand Medical Laboratory Workers Union Incorporated 1,188
New Zealand Merchant Service Guild Industrial Union of Workers Incorporated 694
New Zealand Netball Players Association Incorporated 60
New Zealand Police Association Incorporated 11,157
New Zealand Police Managers' Guild Incorporated 142
New Zealand Post-Primary Teachers Association Incorporated 16,902
New Zealand Professional Drivers and Transport Employees Association Incorporated N/R
New Zealand Professional Fire Fighters Union Incorporated 1,820
New Zealand Professional Footballers' Association Incorporated 128
New Zealand Public Service Association Te Pukenga Here Tikanga Mahi Incorporated 56,568
New Zealand Resident Doctors Association Incorporated 2,967
New Zealand Tramways and Public Passenger Transport Employees Union Incorporated 1,470
New Zealand Writers’ Guild Incorporated 57
Night and Day Port Workers Association Incorporated N/R 1
North Island Mussels Employees Union Incorporated N/R 1
Northern Amalgamated Workers Union Incorporated 2,847
Northern Chemical Workers Union Incorporated 1,080
Northern Totalisator and Allied Employees Association Incorporated 142
Number One Manufacturing Association Incorporated 108
NZ Employees Union Incorporated 45
NZ Tour Drivers Union Incorporated 17
Omnibus Workers Union Incorporated (In Liquidation) N/R3
Portpro Incorporated 78
Professional Verifiers' Institute Incorporated 109
Promina Group Staff Association NZ Incorporated 140
Qantas Employees Collective Incorporated 69
Rail and Maritime Transport Union Incorporated 4,658
Reunited Employees Association Incorporated 140
Saint Kentigern Teachers' Association Incorporated 146
Sanford Workers Association Timaru Incorporated 72
School Executive Officers Association Incorporated 0
Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand Incorporated 84
Shorecare Staff Society Incorporated 40
SLGOU Associates Incorporated 37
Southern Coastal Employees' Association Incorporated 141
Southland Enterprises Union of Workers Incorporated 90
St Peter's School, Cambridge, Academic Staff Association Incorporated 75
St.Margaret's College Teachers Union Incorporated 80
Taranaki Regional Council Staff Association Incorporated 128
Tasman Staff Association Incorporated 40
Taxpro Incorporated 1,141
Te Kuiti Beef Workers Union Incorporated N/R 2
Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association Incorporated 1,591
The Amalgamated Stevedores Union Incorporated 448
The Auckland Society of International Flight Planners Incorporated 32
The Caregivers and Related Employees Independent Association of Staff Incorporated 161
The Clutha District Council Officer's Association Incorporated 66
The Customs Officers Association Incorporated 393
The Federation of Air New Zealand Pilots Incorporated 212
The Grey District Council Union of Employees Incorporated 78
The Hawke's Bay Regional Council Staff Union Incorporated 51
The Independent Schools Education Association Incorporated 707
The New Plymouth District Council Staff Association Incorporated 189
The New Zealand Fire and Rescue Commanders Association Incorporated 55
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Incorporated 47,445
The New Zealand Tertiary Education Union Te Hautu Kahurangi O Aotearoa Incorporated 9,790
The Royal New Zealand Ballet Union of Employees Incorporated 61
The Rugby Players Collective Incorporated 485
The South Waikato District Council Staff Association Incorporated 6
The Southland District Council Officers Association Incorporated 24
The Surfside Employees Association Incorporated 166
The Westland District Council Union of Employees Incorporated 26
TIG-HW Incorporated N/R
TIG - The Independent Group Incorporated 0
Together Incorporated 483
Towers Auckland Employees Union Incorporated N/R1
Tuia Union Incorporated 543
Unison Networks Employees Association Incorporated 32
UNITE Incorporated 6,338
United Fisheries Workplace Union Incorporated 51
Waingawa Workers' Union Incorporated 68
Western Bay of Plenty District Council Employees' Association Incorporated 119
Whakatane District Council Employees Association Incorporated 102
Work & Income Northland Staff Incorporated 71
WSA Incorporated 82



1 Has been referred to the Employment Relations Authority

2 Registrar is currently monitoring the filing compliance of the associated incorporated society

3 Incorporated society placed into liquidation on 7 June 2016.