Thank you for agreeing to participate in this survey.

This survey is being conducted by Dave Henderson and Sue Barker, with support from a consortium of philanthropic trusts. Dave and Sue are both members of the Core Reference Group for the review of the Charities Act 2005. However, this research is being undertaken independently, in their private capacities, with a view to gathering empirical evidence to feed into the review.
 
Why is your time and voice important?
This is the first time since 2005 that the Charities Act has been reviewed. Charities and the community sector need to be heard. This survey and the community consultation meetings scheduled for March/April 2019, provide the channels to speak up!
 
This 20-minute (approximate) survey gives you voice. We have tried to make it as brief as possible. The form allows you to step away, and when you re-enter, you will be brought back to the previous question. There are a number of open responses to allow you to express your full opinion and feedback.

Key risk areas of the review, as identified by the researchers, include:
Scope – this is a comprehensive review, but it is not the full first principles review that was originally promised. There is a risk that the review could result in Charities Services increasing their regulatory powers and charging charities to do that. It is vitally important that everyone with an interest in charities gets involved with the review so as to create the best framework of charity law for New Zealand that we can

Timing the Minister wants to have the review completed within this term of Government, which means the timeframe to carry out this important work is very tight.

Appeals – providing for better access to justice for charities is perhaps the single most important change that could be made, but there is a risk that changes that are needed are not made; it is also possible that unhelpful changes could be made that make the position worse – we need to make sure that does not happen.

Structure of the agency administering the Act – one of the biggest issues raised by submitters on the original Charities Bill was what type of agency would administer the new law. Originally a Charities Commission was established, recognising the importance and independence of the charitable sector, consistently with the vision and principles expressed in the Statement of Government Intentions for an Improved Community-Government relationship: “An independent and vibrant community sector is essential to a healthy civil society. Government and the community sector depend on each other to achieve shared goals of social participation, social equity and strengthened communities”. It is Labour Party policy to consult with the community and voluntary sector on whether the 2012 disestablishment of the Charities Commission and transfer of functions to the Department of Internal Affairs has resulted in effectiveness and improved services and information for the sector. This review is an opportunity to consider what would be the best structure for the agency administering the Charities Act.

Officers – one of the DIA’s “top 5 issues” is a potential widening of the criteria that would disqualify a person from being an officer of a charitable entity. The necessity to allow for rehabilitation and redemption was one of the biggest issues raised by submitters on the original Charities Bill. It is important to have your say.

Businesses – charities should be able to run businesses to raise funds for their charitable purposes, provided those funds are always destined for charitable purposes. However, there is a risk that charities’ ability to run businesses may be restricted by the review. For example, the terms of reference for the review include: “the extent to which businesses that solely raise funds for registered charities can register under the Act”. (Note also the latest tax bill and the Tax Working Group report)

There are many other issues – it is important to have your say

Further background:
The Charities Act 2005 was introduced to provide a registration, reporting and monitoring regime for New Zealand’s charities. Registration is voluntary; charities that are not registered are still able to call themselves a charity and to gather funds from the public. However, registered charitable status confers a number of tax, funding and reputational privileges. The charitable sector originally supported the regime on the basis that it would allow “bad” charities to be “weeded out”, so that the public could have trust and confidence in those that remained.

It is important to note that the Review being conducted by government is not looking at all parts of the Charities Act 2005, only certain components. We need to collect data from the community to specifically address the sections of the Act that are being reviewed, and the questions have largely been designed around those key areas.

There are many other aspects of the Act that we and you may feel need to be addressed. The last question on this survey asks for your opinion on other aspects that need to be addressed.

If you would like to receive an invitation to the seminar series about the review, scheduled for March/April 2019, please enter your email address at the end of the survey.

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