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Tax Robs Vital Charities For Govt Coffers

10 July 2001

Labour intends to regulate and tax the work of charities, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

The Government plans to tax charity trading if the income is not spent on charity work during the year it is raised. This will cause major problems for all charities reliant on reserving funds for future years, forcing many to close down.

"National strongly opposes the proposal to increase taxes for thousands of charities who help New Zealand's desperate and needy," Mrs Shipley said.

"This is a robbery proposal that will siphon money from charities into the Government's coffers. It will affect anything from the local sausage sizzle to large fund-raisers and even means a tax on the local church leader's car. "Not only will discreet support and social services providers in the community have to have their vehicles emblazoned with signage to avoid tax but there will be increased superannuation taxes for nuns, clergy and clergy widows.

"It introduces a big brother approach to charities requiring direct interference and monitoring by a new entity to be set up by the Government.

"Churches and charities tell us they are most concerned about the proposal. I am meeting with their representatives in Wellington today and in Auckland on Thursday to hear their concerns. It is important that the public take the opportunity to have their say.

"This proposal further illustrates the Government's opposition to private philanthropy. Charity and non-profit organisations provide health services for the elderly and cancer patients that the public health system can't afford, as well as numerous other essential services in the community.

"National doesn't believe the Government should decide what charities are capable of doing what work. We won't be making it harder for charities and non-profit organisations to do their work.

"If the Government's proposed legislation is passed all the fundraising work thousands of New Zealand volunteers do for charities is destined for the Government's coffers, not the most needy," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends


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