Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Charities political role vital for democracy

16 October 2006

Charities political role vital for healthy democracy

The Government should re-think the moves it has set in train to strip charities of their tax exempt status from February 2007 if they become too active in political advocacy, Green Party Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"The Government is trying to force charities into a 19th century mould of voluntary work. Caring for the victims is essential work. But so is speaking out on their behalf, and highlighting the conditions that have helped create their situation.

"The Green Party voted against the Charities Commission Bill. It should not be up to the members of this Government appointed panel to decree when a charity has stepped over the line in criticising Government policy, and then punish them financially for doing so.

"Charities have always had a political dimension..That includes the Christian churches as well, who have had a call to political activism ever since their founder threw the money lenders out of the Temple.

"What this measure is saying is that charities should be primarily passive - an ambulance at the foot of the cliff, and only rarely a voice for building a fence at the top..

"Clearly, the Government is trying to foster a climate of self-intimidation, whereby charities will be made too timid to speak out, lest they suffer the financial consequences. This could end up robbing some of the most vulnerable people in society of what will often be their only champion.

"Organisations should be assessed for what they are, not the actions they sometimes pursue. A charity is a non-profit body formed for a stated purpose. This can include advocacy which - at some times, such as when the Anglican Church supported the hikoi of hope - will have a highly visible political dimension..

"The Anglicans are, after all, sometimes called the Tory Party at prayer. Should the Anglicans too, now be feeling under threat of losing their tax exempt status ? Or - more likely - would the Charity Commission be more inclined to pick on smaller, more vulnerable charities for selective punishment?

"In a democracy, the Government should not be in the business of selecting who can, and can't financially afford to criticise it. Charities assist in many ways, and they routinely temper the mistakes made by politicians and bureaucrats. The Government should be in the business of encouraging such generosity, not trying to muzzle its expression."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news