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Charities Commission Registers 10,000th Charity

PRESS RELEASE
7 August 2008
No embargo

Charities Commission Registers 10,000th Charity

The Charities Commission announced today the registration of the 10,000th charity under the Charities Act, which aims to provide more information about the purposes and activities of charities in New Zealand and increase confidence in the charitable sector.

The 10,000th charity to be registered is the Papakura Marae Society Incorporated, which has the unique charities registration number CC28589. Amongst its charitable purposes, the Marae Society provides work and educational programmes in the health, social and educational sectors, and provides advice, information and advocacy.

The Marae was keen to register with the Commission because credibility was very important to them, according to its CEO Brian Joyce. 'It took us years to establish our credibility, and we protect our credibility with all diligence. Recognition from the Commission as a registered charity helps us when it comes to applying for funding and grants,' he said.

To be eligible for registration with the Charities Commission, an organisation must be established and maintained for charitable purposes - meaning they must have a purpose that advances religion, advances education, relieves poverty, or is otherwise beneficial to the community. Other criteria, such as having officers who are qualified to be officers under the Charities Act, also apply.

The Commission received just over 26,000 applications before the 1 July change to income tax laws, which means that only charities registered with the Commission are now eligible for a charitable-purpose tax exemption. However, the Commission can backdate registration to the date on which a properly-completed application was received.

'We are working through the remaining applications as efficiently as possible,' Charities Commission CEO Trevor Garrett says. 'Straightforward applications are generally registered within a couple of weeks of reaching the front of our queue. However, applications that raise more complex issues take longer.

'We encourage people whose applications are in our queue to be patient and wait to hear from us, so we can focus on resolving any issues as quickly as possible. They can check our website each week for overall progress, or login to their account to see where their application is up to.'

Mr Garrett emphasised it is still important for charitable organisations to apply as soon as possible, if they haven't already applied.

He says the Register is also becoming a useful source of information about charities. 'We encourage anyone wanting up-to-date information about charities in New Zealand to look at the Register, at www.charities.govt.nz, where information about the purposes, activities, beneficiaries and sectors of operation of registered charities, as well as the annual returns of charities who have filed them, is available to the public.'

ENDS

Notes to the reporter:
•For more information or to search the Charities Register, visit the Charities Commission's website www.charities.govt.nz

•For further information media can contact Jayne Costelloe on (04) 978 7792 /
mobile 021 949 141 or jayne.costelloe@charities.govt.nz

•Organisations can get further information about becoming a registered charity by calling the Commission's free information line on 0508 242 748; emailing info@charities.govt.nz or visiting its website www.charities.govt.nz.

Background information

Papakura Marae Society Inc is a traditional marae providing health services, youth services, family services and community services as well as hosting a special school visits programme. It has its own on-site GP clinic providing health services to over 4,000 high-needs health patients in the Auckland area. Its has 40 fulltime employees.

The Charities Commission was established by the Charities Act on 1 July 2005 to register and monitor charitable organisations in New Zealand. The Charities Register is always open to receiving applications from charitable organisations in order to access charitable-purpose tax exemptions and make their information publicly available.

After the initial registration phase is completed, the Commission will next turn its attention towards its other functions under the Charities Act, which include providing charities with access to education and support on good governance and management as well as promoting public trust and confidence in charities and their work.

The Charities Register has the added benefit of making valuable information about the charitable sector and individual charities available to the public. The Commission can advise the government on issues affecting the sector, ensure that the sector continues to receive public support and make charities more open to public scrutiny.


ends


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