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United Future backs Charities Commission

Media statement

For immediate release

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

United Future backs Charities Commission

United Future spokesperson on charities Gordon Copeland today expressed his delight that Cabinet has taken detailed decisions about a Charities Commission, but says further urgent action is needed.

"Charities play a vital role in New Zealand society but, over the last twenty years or so, have been under-appreciated by successive governments. There are literally thousands of charities in New Zealand, and if they were all to disappear tomorrow the social and economic cost of their absence would be incalculable," he said.

"Charities (the word means "love of neighbour") represent the grass roots compassionate and caring side of social support in New Zealand communities. Not only do they often mediate a softening of the more rigid social service delivery through government departments and organisations, but they are fantastically efficient in what they do.

"A US Congress Commission established that $1 of service delivery through charities to society would cost $2 if delivered through government bureaucracies.

"The Charities Commission will begin a process of highlighting the fantastic work of the voluntary sector and strengthening its base for the future.

"The base funding of charities is provided through the free-will giving of New Zealanders and its work must never become captive to Government's agenda.

"However Government can assist by increasing tax rebates available to donors. The present limit of $1,890 per annum is stingy and United Future's policy calls for that limit to be lifted immediately to $5,000 as a first step," said Mr Copeland.


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