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Still Misgivings about Charities Commission

22 April 2005

Still Misgivings about Charities Commission

“While we were surprised with the government’s decision to transfer responsibility for the Charities Commission to the Department of Internal Affairs, the details behind this decision are clear and supported by FINZ. We however remain disappointed that they still have not yet addressed one of the Bill’s basic flaws,” said Dianne Armstrong, President of the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand which represents over 300 professional fundraisers.

She said that one of the government’s main reasons for introducing the Commission in the first place was to enhance the public’s confidence in the charitable sector.

“They suggest this will happen as a consequence of charities registering with the Commission. But registration is still voluntary and this means that the few but destructive ‘cowboy’ charities will be as unimpeded as ever they have been to continue ripping off the public.”

“In this major area of concern, the Bill and the Commission it creates does nothing whatever to change the staus quo,” said Mrs Armstrong.

The Institute also has some concerns about the increased prominence that the Commission will give to education when it comes under the DIA.

Education and development of professional fundraisers is a task that the Institute has taken very seriously as a service to its members since its establishment 15 years ago.

“Very few people outside the Institute have the experience or knowledge of the profession to enable them to start ‘educating’ or establishing benchmarks for others in the profession,” said Mrs Armstrong.

“We would hope that the government would see the sense in leaving the large part of the educative role to the Institute and provide the support needed to the Institute to do this vital task properly.”

ENDS

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