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Government seeks public views on charities legislation

MEDIA RELEASE 22 February 2019


Government seeks public views on charities legislation

The Department of Internal Affairs today launched the government’s public consultation on the Charities Act 2005.

“The Act has been in place for over a decade, and a lot has changed for the more than 27,000 charities operating under the Act,” says Raj Krishnan, General Manager Policy.

“Charities play a vital role in supporting the wellbeing of people and communities throughout New Zealand. Public feedback gives us a chance to hear what needs improving so charities can continue to thrive and make a difference.”

“An effective Act will help ensure that our charities sector is as impactful as possible and enjoys the public’s trust and confidence.”

A discussion document published on the Department of Internal Affairs’ website today will enable charities and members of the public to have their say on a range of issues on modernising the Act.

“We welcome public discussion on issues such as improving the appeals process, support for charities to meet their obligations, and the extent to which charities can advocate for their causes. We also want to hear how the Act is working for charities that have Māori kaupapa.”

“Making a written submission is the best way to ensure your views and experiences under the Act are heard.”

Charities and members of the public can read the discussion document online and submit a written response.

Twenty-one community meetings will also be held throughout the country over March and April to support the submission process, where attendees can hear and discuss presentations on the issues and ask questions. The discussion document, information on how to make a submission and registration information for community meetings can be found here: www.dia.govt.nz/charitiesact Public submissions are open until 30 April 2019.

ENDS Frequently Asked Questions 1. Why is the Government modernising the Charities Act? The Government wants to ensure the Charities Act is fit for purpose and flexible enough for the diverse needs of today’s charitable sector.

2. Who is carrying out this modernisation work? The Department of Internal Affairs is leading this work. The Department has been engaging with a Core Reference Group of representatives from the charities sector, the Charities Registration Board, and other agencies.

3. Are tax exemptions for charities and ‘charitable purpose’ within scope? No. Tax exemptions and the definition of ’charitable purpose’, including the four heads of charity (relief of poverty, advancement of religion or education, or other matter that benefits the community) are not being considered. Cabinet’s May 2018 decision to exclude these matters from scope can be viewed here:SWC-18-MIN-0058 4. What happens if I can’t attend a community meeting? The community meetings support the submission process, but you do not need to attend a community meeting to be able to submit your feedback.

You can ensure your voice is heard by making a written submission. All the information needed to make a submission can be found here: www.dia.govt.nz/charitiesact 5. When will changes to the Charities Act be made? If changes are needed, a bill to amend the Act will be introduced to Parliament in late 2019. A Parliamentary Select Committee will invite public comment on a bill. More information on next steps will be released in due course.

ends


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