Review of the Charities Act 2005 – updated post

24 MAY 2018

In February this year, the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Peeni Henare, announced new plans to review the Charities Act 2005. (See original post below). In a media release published 24 May, entitled “Ensuring a fit for purpose Charities Act”, the release advised that the terms of reference for the review have been approved by Cabinet. These “define the structure and scope of the review.” 

The Minister will be the key decision-maker on the review, with some decisions also requiring Cabinet approval. The Department of Internal Affairs will be the lead agency. The review is expected to take 2-3 years.

“The review will cover many substantive issues. The extent to which charities can advocate for their causes, and ways to appeal the regulator’s decisions, all need looking at.

Formal consultation will begin later in the year, when stakeholders and members of the public can provide their feedback on what is working, and what is not.

The broad scope of the review will enable robust discussions on many key issues that are of interest to the sector and the public.” – media release 24 May 2018.

See also: Ensuring a fit for purpose Charities Act

Full information about the review can be found at www.dia.govt.nz/charitiesreview .

Original Post:   FEBRUARY 2018

In 2010, the NZ government announced plans to review the Charities Act 2005. These plans were cancelled in 2012 when the functions of the Charities Commission were rolled into the Department of Internal Affairs. Recently, Hon.Peeni Henare, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector  published “A Message from the Minister” in the DIA Charities Services Newsletter February 2018 advising of new plans to review the Charities Act 2005. In this message he wrote:

Kia ora tātou
I am delighted to confirm that initial work to review the Charities Act 2005 is well underway. As Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, reviewing this legislation is my top priority, and I hope to make good progress on the review during this parliamentary term.
The Policy Group within the Department of Internal Affairs is currently discussing initial plans, including draft terms of reference for the review, with a representative group of stakeholders. The review process will be highly consultative and I look forward to engaging with you, and the wider public, once I formally announce the review.
Your engagement and feedback on issues faced will be critical to ensure an effective and fit for purpose Act. I look forward to announcing more details in the next couple of months after discussing it with my Cabinet colleagues.
Heoi anō tāku mō nāianei
Hon Peeni Henare

See also: ‘Comprehensive’ review of Charities Act now underway, minister Peeni Henare says, as calls to change tax treatment of religious charities grow – TVNZ  Wed, Mar 7

On an allied matter, a Review of Incorporated Societies legislation has been proceeding for some time. <See this postMark von Dadelszen, a Hastings lawyer and author of Law of Societies, 3rd Edition, 2013, has recently published a detailed and thoughtful comment on Reforming Incorporated Society and Charitable Trust Law.   

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