Community and Voluntary Sector Minister, Priyanca Radhakrishnan says the Charities Amendment Bill, which passed its third reading today, will modernise the sector and reduce the red tape that smaller charities face.
The Minister said a review of the Charities Act presented practical changes that could be made to better support charities and improve trust and confidence in the sector.
“The changes will enable reduced reporting requirements for very small charities so they can focus on their important mahi and a more accessible tribunal for charities that want to appeal decisions,” she said.
“There are about 28,000 registered charities that contribute greatly to New Zealand society, we want to ensure that our legislative settings are fit for them to continue supporting our communities into the future.
“Kiwis have been rated the second-most generous country in the world. Our charitable sector has an income of over $21 billion and these changes will continue to promote public trust and confidence in charitable giving,” Ms Radhakrishnan said.
“It is important that our system doesn’t just work for those who have the resources to navigate it. We need to ensure that the services that are available, and access to them, are equitable.”
To make it easier and less costly for charities to appeal decisions, one of the key changes is that the Taxation Review Authority can now hear Charities Act appeals.
“The Taxation and Charities Review Authority is more accessible for charities than the current system that requires charities to appeal decisions at the High Court. Charities will have more time to lodge an appeal and can self-represent at the Authority to avoid legal costs,” Minister Radhakrishnan said.
The Bill has undergone some minor changes since it was introduced last year.
“I am pleased that the Select Committee heard submitters’ views and refined some areas, such as the officer definition and the duty for charities to review their rules. This is about ensuring that the changes we make are workable.”
“Alongside the bill, we will also be implementing other on non-legislative changes to further strengthen the sector, including requirements for larger charities to report reasons for accumulating funds.
“During COVID-19 and through the severe weather events, our charitable sector has been at frontline supporting Kiwis. The changes we’re making through this bill will help the sector do more of the work they’re so passionate about and strengthen public confidence in the sector,” the Minister said.