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

Gordon Campbell: On What We Could Do For Hong Kong, If Only We Dared

There has been something repulsive about PM Jacinda Ardern’s assurances that our joint 5 Eyes criticism of China’s actions over Hong Kong – and China’s harsh reaction – are all well understood on both sides. According to Ardern, it has been a case of us saying the sort of things we’ve said before, them acknowledging our need to do so, and then them responding much as we would expect them to do. All neat and tidy. Frankly, if all of this is merely virtue signalling on our part, and huffy declarations of independence on their part, then what’s the point of this diplomatic dance..? More>>


Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>


Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>


National: Leader’s Speech At Annual General Meeting

Good morning delegates. It’s an absolute privilege to be speaking as your leader. I’d like to acknowledge the party president, regional chairs, board members, National Party staff, our MPs, our candidates, and most importantly, you – the delegates, ... More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>


Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>


APEC: New Zealand Ready To Host Virtually

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels