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Charities Bill ends 17-year battle


Charities Bill ends 17-year battle

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today expressed his delight that the Charities Bill has been reported back by the Select Committee to Parliament.

“It is fascinating that today is 17 December because this long running saga had its genesis in Roger Douglas’s flat tax proposal which was announced to a startled nation at a Beehive line-up on 17 December 1987.

“That date is indelibly impressed on my mind because it was also the date on which the then Labour government announced that the traditional tax-free status of charities was coming to an end. Charities, together with other affected groups such as amateur sports clubs, banded together like never before in nationwide protest and I have personally been working on the issue, with successive governments, ever since.

“Charities do an enormous amount for NZ society and it is impossible to imagine how brutal life would be without their ameliorating influence in our communities. They not only assist those in need in countless ways but also soften the hard edge of government bureaucracy. People would rather deal with the Salvation Army any day than Work and Income, which is the government equivalent.

“Since 1987 those in the voluntary sector have not only demanded that government give away the brainless idea of imposing a tax on charity (the word after all means “love of one’s fellow human beings”) but that they begin to give the sector some positive assistance through higher tax rebates to those who support their work through free will giving.

“The $630 tax rebate is by far the most stingy amongst the OECD nations and I am hopeful that government will dramatically liberalise that regime in the near future.

“After 17 years of many twists and turns and countless hours of hard yakka I feel a very real satisfaction that progress is at long last being made.

“To build a strong society and strong communities we need to see charitable activity flourish in every way and the government give a firm lead in encouraging generosity and philanthropy within New Zealand,” said Mr Copeland.


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