Media Release: 31 January 2014
National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) Files High Court Challenge to Charitable Status Decisions
NCWNZ has today filed a challenge in the High Court with a Notice of Appeal against the DIA- Charities’ (previously the Charities Commission) decision not to back date the Council’s re-registration as a charity. This follows the legal challenge made on 19 December 2013 against the IRD for the tax imposed during the 2 year ‘stand down’ period while NCWNZ were negotiating their re-registration.
As the charitable aims and purposes of the National Council of Women have not changed over 120 years the decisions of the Charities Regulator and the consequent imposition of tax by the IRD is widely considered to be unfair and wrong, said National President Barbara Arnold. However, she said, the Council is obliged to appeal against the Charities Regulator in the High Court, this being the only option under the Charities legislation. The Court’s decision will have far reaching effects for the Charities legislation and Barbara Arnold said she expects a clear direction for future charitable organisations. No voluntary group should be put under this sort of pressure in the future.
The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is an umbrella organisation representing 30 organisations affiliated at national level and a further 40 organisations affiliated at branch level. It has 22 branches throughout the country attended by representatives of these organisations, as well as individual members. NCWNZ’s function is to represent and promote the interests of New Zealand women through research, discussion and action. Barbara Arnold said this prolonged litigation has had a significant effect on the Council which has very limited financial resources and relies primarily on volunteers to carry out its work. NCWNZ is seeking financial assistance with their court costs through a public campaign on the Givealittle website – www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/ncwnzhighcourt.