Submissions open on Charities Amendment Bill


Wed 05 Oct 2022

The government is inviting public submissions on the Charities Amendment Bill by 10 November 2022.

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Submissions open on Charities Amendment Bill

The Social Services and Community Committee is calling for public submissions on the Charities Amendment Bill.

The closing date to make a submission is 10 November 2022 9 December 2022 (closing date extended).

The purpose of the Charities Amendment Bill is "...to make practical changes to support charities to continue their vital contribution to community well-being, while ensuring that that contribution is sufficiently transparent to interested parties and the public." It would amend the Charities Act 2005.

According to the parliamentary submission information the bill is intended to:

  • enable simpler financial reporting from small charities
  • improve access to justice for charities in the appeals process
  • enhance regulatory decision-making requirements
  • clarify the role of officers and supporting the governance of charities
  • improve regulatory compliance and enforcement tools.

Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan noted that “Alongside the introduction of the bill, we are also working on non-legislative changes to further improve the sector, including requirements for larger charities to report reasons for accumulating funds." This media release also includes a Full list of changes being proposed to the Charities Act (and also lists non-legislative changes). For more detailed information see Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) information on Policy decisions to modernise the Charities Act 2005.

DIA is leading the government's work to modernise the Charities Act. This work involved public consultation and targeted engagement and stakeholder feedback.

Community and advocate responses

An expert in charities law, Sue Barker has raised concerns about the proposals to modernise charities law including lack of adequate consultation on the proposals. Earlier this year Barker published the report, Focus on purpose – What Does a World-Leading Framework of Charities Law Look Like? (April 2022). The research was supported by a 2019 New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship. For more information about Barker's research and resources on charities law see her website www.charitieslawreform.nz, or listen to an interview on access radio from Collaborative Voices, an initiative from Community Networks Aotearoa.

The LEAD Centre for Not for Profit Governance & Leadership has also raised concerns that the proposed changes will not achieve the intended outcomes.

Update: LEAD has published an updated blog post related to the bill about the Lost Opportunity for Charities looming.

Sue Barker and lawyer Steven Moe are hosting an online meeting about the Bill on 7 October 2022. Register online to attend the meeting.

Update: The Charities Amendment Bill discussion between Steven Moe and Sue Barker was recorded. Links to the recording of the discussion and follow up information are available in the 12 October 2022 email update from Sue Barker.

Related news

DIA is also reviewing the lottery grants system. This programme of work is called Kia Tipu, He Tipua – Evolving the lottery grants system. According to the announcement of the review "The programme will undertake a review of the whole system to create a new community funding and advisory support system that is more responsive, flexible, inclusive, strategic and honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This is the first time an end-to-end review has been done since Lotto launched in New Zealand over 35 years ago." Recommendations are expected in late 2022 with changes taking effect from 2023. For more information about this work, email community.matters@dia.govt.nz. This RNZ article, Lottery grants system incoherent, biased and preserves status quo - review, highlights key points related to the need for the review.

DIA has launched a new website Granted.govt.nz to help community organisations understand who receives pokie grant funding.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) is seeking feedback on what regulations should be made under the Incorporated Societies Act 2022 and what those regulations should prescribe. The Incorporated Societies Act 2022 will come fully into force in October 2023. However, regulations are required to supplement the legislation. MBIE has published a discussion document outlining proposed regulations. The Companies Office has developed a law changes hub for the latest information and updates. The closing date to submit feedback is 22 November 2022. For background information related to charities see the Charities Service blog post 5 things charities need to know about the new Incorporated Societies Act and recordings, slides and resources from their webinars on the Incorporated Societies Act 2022.

Related media

The Charities Amendment Bill – A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing?, Legalwise, 26.10.2022

‘Get real’: Donors must demand transparency about the impact of charities, Newsroom, 21.09.2022

Nonprofits may need to spend about one-third of their budget on overhead to thrive – contradicting a rule of thumb for donors, The Conversation, 20.09.2022 (Also see the related research article The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle: Does Overhead Spending Really Impact Program Outcomes?)

Charity reforms insult to the sector - lawyer, RNZ, 03.06.2022

Charities Act changes to benefit NZ Communities, Beehive media release, 02.06.2022

Fears charities law reform could be ‘colossal mistake’, Business Desk, 23.05.2022

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