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Charities could be in for more bad news

Charities could be in for more bad news

Charities could be in for more bad news in three years’ time when the Charities Commission will be focusing on monitoring their activities, says National’s Internal Affairs spokeswoman, Sandra Goudie.

“As if gagging them through the threat of deregistration for tax purposes isn’t bad enough, the commission will have powers to investigate charities if questions are raised about their activities.”

Ms Goudie says the commission has powers to deregister where an organisation has any purpose that is not a charitable purpose, and where there has been a failure to meet its obligations under the Charities Act.

“Charities have to identify their ‘main activity’ on the registration form. If ‘advocacy’ isn’t the main activity, and a complaint is made, how will the commission determine whether ‘advocacy’ is greater than the main activity?

“One complaint could trigger an investigation which could see a charity turned inside-out.

“A Cabinet paper says that ‘charities formed for the principal purpose of fostering or administering religion, cult or political creed will not qualify’.

“I am not aware of any criteria by which the Charities Commission can assess the degree of advocacy against the main activity,” says Ms Goudie.


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