Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, says today’s introduction of the Charities Amendment Bill will modernise the sector by increasing transparency, improving access to justice services and reducing the red-tape that smaller charities face.
“These changes will make a meaningful difference to over 28,000 registered charities across New Zealand that play a significant role in supporting our communities,” Ms Radhakrishnan said.
“It will ensure that legal settings are up to date, fit-for-purpose, and will support charities to get on with their important work, while also safeguarding public trust and confidence in the sector.
“Kiwis have recently 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,” she said.
The changes proposed in the bill also include reduced reporting requirements for very small charities, and a more accessible tribunal for charities that want to appeal decisions.
“This will free up resources to allow volunteers to spend more time focusing on communities and doing the mahi they are passionate about,” the Minister said.
“The work our smaller charities do is just as important as the work of those that are more widely known.
“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, the Bill empowers the Taxation Review Authority to hear Charities Act appeals.
The Taxation and Charities Review Authority, will be 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, the Minister said.
“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.”
“I expect the bill to have its first reading shortly, and then to be referred to a Select Committee for a period of six months. I encourage anyone, particularly those from the charitable sector, to make a submission so that we can work together to strengthen a sector that contributes significantly to the collective wellbeing of all New Zealanders,” Ms Radhakrishnan said.