Reforming the Not-For-Profits Statutes – Fundamental Questions

2011 Article, updated October 2017 Various articles in this series identify the archaic nature of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908, Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and other statutes governing not-for-profit organisations, and also the Law Commission project into the adequacy of those Acts.  The Commission published an Issues Paper (NZLC IP, 24 June 2011) on this broad and important subject, and subsequently published report number 129, A New Act for Incorporated Societies in early 2013. Both documents recognised the importance and diverse range of the thousands of community organisations in New Zealand, and the need for a “back-to-basics” approach to reform. While New Zealand has pioneered many legal reforms over the years, and was quick to legislate for the incorporation of some types of community organisation, this is an area of the law where we have lagged behind other jurisdictions; notably the Australian States and Canadian Provinces.  Happily, on this occasion we can benefit from their activism in law reform. The Issues Paper is called “Reforming the Incorporated Societies Act 1908,” but it covers other legislation including the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and legislation dealing with the agricultural and pastoral societies and industrial and provident societies. The Law Commission has asked questions to which it wishes to receive answers and submissions before 30 September 2011 (sent to Geoff McLay, Commissioner, New Zealand Law Commission, PO Box 2590, Wellington 6011, DX SP 23534, or by email to incsocs@lawcom.govt.nz).  This and following articles will set out the questions and make some suggestions. Question 1: Do you agree that a review of the legal structure for incorporation of non-profits, and the requirements on those running...