An open letter re: Charities Amendment Bill. We need to act now.

This is unlike any of our other blog posts, but rather an open letter to those in the community and charity sector. We hope that despite the little time we have to make our voices heard that our letter will help to influence action. 

Dear Friends -

Parliament is about to consider the Crown Entities Reform Bill which among other changes abolishes the CharitiesAct2005 and disestablishes the New Zealand Charities Commission.

The Charities Commission was established as an autonomous crown entity after years of consultation and discussion with the community and charity sector.

Along with managing the register of charitable entities, the Charities Commission was established to promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector, encourage and promote the effective use of charitable resources and educate and assist charities in relation to matters of good governance and management.

However, under the proposed reform the functions of the Charities Commission would be moved to the Department of Internal Affairs, who have a lesser capacity for understanding, supporting, educating and growing the sector.

The government intends to disestablish the Charities Commission as an autonomous crown entity in the hopes of cost savings; however cost efficiencies are not guaranteed. To regulate the sector will still require staff, office space and equipment and a Chief Executive, all of which come at a cost.

Despite the argument of cost, ultimately the level of engagement and furtherment of the community sector that the Charities Commission has championed is unlikely to continue under Department of Internal Affairs, and years of interaction and progress within the sector will be un-done.

So, what can we do?

The Crown Entities Reform Bill is due to have its second reading in Parliament and be voted on in the week beginning 21 May. This is the last opportunity to save the independent Commission. This means, that the time to act is now.

To show your support for the continued work of the Charities Commission please call or visit your local MP and voice your concerns. If you’re unable to call or visit, please make the time to send a personalised letter to your MP.

To support your appeal, your conversation or letter could outline your community’s need for the Charities Commission, highlight the benefits, education, guidance, events or advocacy that the Commission has provided in the past, and the concerns you have if this support is lessened or removed.

We have one week to make sure that our united voices are heard and that we continue to be supported and furthered as a sector.

Download the Crown Entities Reform Bill here. Part 3 of the Bill covers the disestablishment of the Commission.

Thanks

Eddy & Jade