New Zealand to go ahead with reform of its charities law

A controversial bill to reform charity law in New Zealand is back on track after the Labour Government backed down on plans to charge organisations to register as charities.

The government announced last week that it would allocate $9.8m (£3.7m) to a proposed new Charities Commission. This means that charities will not have to pay a fee to register with the commission or miss out on tax breaks if they refuse.

"This funding means registration with the commission will be free for all charities," said Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson.

Charities had claimed the bill would burden them with unnecessary regulations and possibly deter volunteers.

In response, the New Zealand Government agreed to a raft of changes including removing provisions stopping charities giving indemnity insurance to officers, and automatically deregistering charities if an officer had been convicted of a dishonesty offence within the past seven years.

The UK Charity Commission said it had no plans to charge charities for registration.

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