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Government encourages generosity

Media Statement
For Immediate Release

17 May 2007

Government encourages generosity by removing tax rebate

Philanthropy New Zealand welcomes the Government’s budget commitment to remove the tax rebate threshold for individuals and companies donating to charities.

Philanthropy New Zealand Executive Director Robyn Scott says the Government’s decisions will create a more conducive tax environment for New Zealanders to give to their communities.

“We congratulate the Government because tax rebates for charitable donations are an investment in the social capital of our country. There are many programmes, innovative projects and great ‘coal face’ work being carried out every day in all our communities, using donated money and voluntary contribution of time.”

Ms Scott says this fundamental work needed a nurturing funding environment and today’s Budget announcement “is a great first step”.

“It is well known that as Governments around the world lift their tax rebates, generosity increases.

“Although there is a loss to the consolidated tax fund, the value philanthropic giving returns to New Zealanders, and the value added by the voluntary sector will more than make up for it in terms of the value they create in communities.”

Philanthropist Scott Gilmour, who started the “I have a dream” project in New Zealand, believes philanthropists’ generosity facilitates and leads all manner of social and economic change in this country.

“We work alongside the young, the old, Maori, ethnic groups, and community and voluntary agencies. Philanthropic giving is an indispensable aspect of our communities because it funds cutting edge, risky work that no one else can fund,’ he says.

Tax incentives are just one of a number of incentives Philanthropy New Zealand would like to see Government pick up. Other initiatives include education and promotion of generosity. Ms Scott adds: “Overseas experience shows that people give more when giving is made easy and they have a range of incentives to give.”

The Giving New Zealand research recently released by Philanthropy New Zealand shows there is room for improving our generosity as a nation. Although approx. $1.3 billion dollars was given away in 2005/2006 one-third of that came from personal donations. The rest is made up from Trusts and Foundations and businesses.

Kate Frykberg is Executive Director of the Todd Foundation and a philanthropist in her own right. She is strongly supportive of any moves that encourage New Zealanders to give back to their communities.

"It is a real privilege to give and we need to encourage more of it. We congratulate the Government for taking this step and we look forward to other incentives to promote and encourage giving for the betterment of all members of our society," she says.


Ends

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