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Taxpayer-funded charities should be subject to official laws

Taxpayer-funded charities should be subject to official information laws

26 NOVEMBER 2019

Responding to a damning report revealing blowouts on travel and dining at the Hepatitis Foundation, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is calling for the extension of the Official Information Act to include taxpayer-funded charities.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The extravagance at the Hepatitis Foundation is an example of how our money can be squandered without scrutiny when funnelled into an outside organisation. The Hepatitis Foundation’s annual returns suggest that in a number of the years under scrutiny, taxpayer funding made up the majority of the Foundation’s revenue.”

“We were lucky to see Charities Services investigate this case, but we cannot always rely on the regulator. Taxpayers deserve to discover for themselves if their earnings are being blown on fine dining and extended overseas junkets.”

“One way to achieve this would be to open up charities to the Official Information Act if they receive a certain proportion of their funding (say, two thirds) from taxpayers. If that was the case at the Hepatitis Foundation, the Taxpayers’ Union could have monitored its spending directly, saving taxpayers a costly investigation from Charities Services.”


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