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Charities Act Review delay Uncharitable

16 November 2012

Charities Act Review delay Uncharitable

“The Government’s decision to shelve the Charities Act review is a major blow to organisations in the not for profit sector and uncharitable in the extreme,” the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) President Barbara Arnold said today.

Barbara Arnold was commenting on the Government’s announcement today that the promised ‘first principles’ review of the Charities Act scheduled to be completed in 2015, will now be put on ice indefinitely.

“We are amazed and concerned at the statement by the Community and Voluntary Sector Minister that, “the current definition is still working reasonably well so the need for a review is not pressing”.”

“Organisations such as our own have been holding out for the review in order to, in particular, get much needed clarity around the definition of a charitable entity. The way in which the current definition has been applied has meant that NCWNZ, whose activities are undertaken for exclusively charitable purposes, does not fit the criteria.

Barbara Arnold said that this state of affairs is bizarre and wrong. “In the 116 years since its establishment, all of NCWNZ’s work has been conducted in furtherance of its overriding charitable purpose - to serve women, the family and the community,” she said.

“Our work has resulted in better conditions for industrial workers; women being able to become lawyers, members of Parliament, justices of the peace and to sit on juries; equal grounds for divorce for men and women; improved conditions in schools; and many other important achievements.

“Lack of status as a registered charitable entity can be catastrophic for many entities, effectively cutting off the ability to access funding. The public are not being well served by losing good charities on “black-letter” technicalities.

“The Government’s action in delaying the review of the Charities Commission is the opposite of what needs to happen. It should be brought forward so that the work of organisations such as NCWNZ which is demonstrably charitable can be properly recognised as such,” Barbara Arnold concluded.


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