NFP Resource has received the following media release from Sue Barker. In the interests of debate and for the information of our readers we are pleased to publish it in full, though without comment.
8 May 2023
GOVERNMENT HAS NO MANDATE TO PASS CHARITIES AMENDMENT BILL
The Social Services and Community Select Committee has reported back on the Charities Amendment Bill 169-2, recommending by majority that it be passed with amendments. The New Zealand National Party has expressed a differing view, pointing out that submissions on the Bill overwhelmingly call for the Bill to be withdrawn, and for the Labour Government to honour its manifesto commitment to carry out a proper, first principles, post-implementation review of the Charities Act 2005, one carried out independently of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
“The Government has no mandate to pass this Bill”, said Sue Barker, specialist charities lawyer and member of the Core Reference Group for the review of the Charities Act.
“The Bill represents a broken manifesto promise and does nothing to meet its stated objective to ‘support charities to continue their vital contribution to community wellbeing’. It is surprising that a succession of Ministers and the majority of the Select Committee appear to have simply accepted DIA’s advice without critical examination. It is a sad indictment on our democracy that policy is effectively being set by an unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucracy, while the fundamental concerns of the vast bulk of the charitable sector are consistently ignored.
“The proposals in the Bill are written by DIA for DIA. Even the proposal to reduce the financial reporting requirements for small charities, which is being used as a Trojan horse to usher in a host of unhelpful measures, is about DIA rather than charities – when DIA comes to write the regulations (if they ever do), they will discover (as a number of submitters have pointed out) that they will not be able to reduce the compliance burden for small charities further than they are about to be reduced by the External Reporting Board without removing all meaningful accountability.
“Charities were not asking for more unnecessary red tape. The Labour Government does not have a democratic mandate to progress this Bill. If the Labour Government wishes to be seen as having integrity, it must withdraw this Bill, as the vast bulk of the charitable sector is calling for”.
For further information, please contact Sue Barker at 021 790 053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.