NCWNZ and the Charities Commission
The Charities Commission NZ is seeking to deregister this body at the national level, as being a charitable society. The reason given for this action is that the Commission is of the view that NCWNZ Incorporated no longer qualifies for registration as a charitable entity on the grounds that it is not established and maintained exclusively for charitable purpose as required by section 13(1)(b) of the Act.
To date what has transpired, is as follows:
On 16 April 2010, NCWNZ received notification from the Charities Commission Office of its intention to deregister the National Council of Women of New Zealand Inc as a charitable organisation.
An initial submission was prepared for the Review and Investigation team; this was presented on 14 May 2010. NCWNZ accepted the Charities Commission offer for an extension for the main submission to its office which focused on the legal aspect of this matter and required evidence relating to NCWNZ's activities. This submission was presented on 31 May. Further evidence, over one hundred pages of the work undertaken by national office, was submitted on 2 June 2010.
On 22 June it was confirmed that the Review and Investigation team would be recommending that NCWNZ is deregistered as a charitable organisation. NCWNZ responded immediately with a request to provide the Commission with information and evidence relevant to the Board specifically. The Commission has thus far not responded.
The implications for this organisation
The loss of charitable status has serious implications for organisations dependent on funding from philanthropic bodies. The current funding environment is already extremely competitive, making charitable status one of the most basic requirements of any charitable organisation.
1. First and foremost, delaying a decision by the Charities Commission Board, so that NCWNZ can present its case that it is in the public interest that we are able to maintain both our charitable status and continue to undertake our work unfettered.
2. Calling for the review of the Charities Commission and the Charities Act to better reflect today's needs and public expectations and not be so tightly bound to a Common Law which was created over 400 years ago; it is our understanding that the Department of Internal Affairs opted to shy away from reviewing the matter of charitable purpose and political advocacy.
3. Establishing a citizen-driven definition of charitable purpose and the activities, mechanisms and tools which can be reasonably applied in order to further the charitable purpose; NCWNZ is looking at what has occurred in Canada in regards to this issue.
What can you do?
- Visit or send a letter to your local MP about the current shortcomings of the Charities Act or write to your local paper supporting NCWNZ maintaining charitable status and highlighting the need for change in the definition of a charitable organisation. NCWNZ has created letter templates for your convenience. Download the 'Template Letter regarding NCWNZ and the Charities Commission' at http://www.ncwnz.org.nz/assets/Action/Template-Letter-regarding-NCWNZ-and-Charities-Commission.doc or the 'Template Letter regarding Review of Charitable Purpose' at http://www.ncwnz.org.nz/assets/Action/Template-Letter-regarding-Review-of-Charitable-Purpose.doc
- Support NCWNZ financially to build towards independence from the restrictions imposed by the Charities Act and Government funding.
- Go to 'Submit Your Views: Does NCWNZ work for charitable purposes?' at http://www.ncwnz.org.nz/submit-your-views-does-ncwnz-work-for-charitable-purposes/ and follow the instructions * Please note: if you have not yet had the opportunity to make a submission, NCWNZ would appreciate you submitting your views even if you cannot get it to them until after the deadline of Friday, 9 July 2010. Where you can get more information
The web page at http://www.ncwnz.org.nz/ncwnz-and-the-charities-commission has links to media releases, resources and sources of more information in boxes on the right side of the page, please scroll down the page to see them all.