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The review of the Charities Act 2005

20 November 2018 - By Sue Barker

A review of the Charities Act 2005 is being carried out by the Department of Internal Affairs, assisted by a Core Reference Group. Group member Sue Barker provides an update on developments.

There is a saying that in a democracy you get the leaders you deserve. Arguably, you also get the legislation you deserve. The review of the Charities Act 2005 has started, and has the potential to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a world-leading framework of charity law for New Zealand. Or it could make things worse. Democracy is ours to lose – it is essential that those involved/concerned with New Zealand’s charities get engaged with the review, and that we collectively try to create the best framework of charity law that we can.

2019 Charity law conference

In that context, and building on the success of the first conference held in Wellington in April 2018 (most of the sessions for which can be found here), the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, in conjunction with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Charities Services, are organising a 2019 conference entitled Future prospects for charity law, accounting and regulation, to be held at Te Papa in Wellington on 11 and 12 April 2019. Consultation on the review of the Charities Act will be underway and it is hoped that the conference will help facilitate conversations about what the framework of charity law should look like in the future. For more information, please visit We hope to see you there!

Not-for-profits, trusts and charities law symposium

The review of the Charities Act was also discussed at the recent not-for-profits, trusts and charities law symposium, held in Auckland on 1 November 2018. In case it is helpful, more information can be found here:  

CCH are also holding a webinar Update on the review of the Charities Act on 27 November 2018, see:

Research questionnaire

Finally, we are fortunate that a consortium of philanthropic trusts has very kindly provided some funding to undertake some empirical research to feed into the review. With the help of Strategic Grants, a questionnaire has been created to gather input to feed into the review.

The link to the questionnaire can be found here:

The research is being carried out by Dave Henderson and Sue Barker, who are both members of the Core Reference Group for the review (see:, although this research is being carried out in their private, independent capacities.

We would be grateful if you would please complete the questionnaire. The more people that complete the questionnaire, the better the data will be. We appreciate that the questionnaire is quite long, but there are a number of issues where it would be helpful to gather data and we really appreciate your time. If you are connected to more than one group or organisation, we would very much appreciate it if you were able to complete the questionnaire more than once, giving the information separately for each one. Most importantly, please share the questionnaire with your networks, whether registered charities or not, by email, Facebook, or however. The more data we can gather, the better the case we should be able to build for what charity law should look like in New Zealand for the future.  

Thank you so much in advance for your input into this important project. If you have any questions, please contact Dave Henderson at or Sue Barker at


Last updated on the 20th November 2018