Charity Law in New Zealand

Written by Dr Donald Poirier, a former senior employee of the Department of Internal Affairs - Charities Services, Charity Law in New Zealand provides an analysis of charity law in this country.

Charities Services believes this online book will be useful to those in the legal profession as well as the wider charity and not-for-profit sector.

The book is intended to promote a wider understanding for all New Zealanders of the structure and complexities of charity law. 

Please note that the law has continued to evolve since this book was published, including in relation to how charitable purposes that are “Other purposes beneficial to the community” are assessed, and to political purposes. You can read more about the current law on this website.

Charitable purpose

The legal concept of ‘charitable purpose’ is a complex concept embedded in section 5(1) of the Charities Act 2005. It has evolved through more than 400 years of case law, since the Statute of Charitable Uses came into effect in England in 1601. Judges’ decisions continue to shape the meaning of ‘charitable purpose’ in New Zealand.

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Purposes to promote a point of view

In deciding whether a political purpose is a charitable purpose, reference is made to previous decisions of the courts and to legislation.

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Download Charity Law in New Zealand

Charity Law in New Zealand by Dr Donald Poirier [PDF, 3.2 MB]

By downloading this document, you are accepting the terms of the following disclaimer:

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  The book titled "Charity Law in New Zealand" by Dr Donald Poirier, while published by the Department of Internal Affairs, was written by the author in his personal capacity, rather than in his capacity as an employee of the Department of Internal Affairs. The views in the book are those of the author, not the Department of Internal Affairs. While the book provides useful commentary for the industry and practitioners, it should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice, and the Department will not be held accountable or responsible for any act, omission, or loss suffered by any party as a result of reliance on the views in the book. Similarly the Department is not bound to act in accordance with, or make decisions consistent with, the views in the book.