Greenpeace loses battle for charity status

June 29, 2011

By Alastair Reith

A recent High Court decision has stripped Greenpeace New Zealand of its charity status in this country. The court upheld a 2010 ruling by the Charities Commission that the environmentalist organization is “too political” to be classed as a charity. Greenpeace is challenging the decision. The Commission argued that calls by Greenpeace for peace and disarmament could not be classed as charitable and were political in nature, and that while Greenpeace does not openly advocate breaking the law its members have been involved in illegal protest activity. Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid disputed this, arguing that, “Most of the charities that have got charitable status are very much engaged in change they want to see, positive change for our society today.”

This decision will deal a serious blow to Greenpeace. Apart from the mainstream legitimacy that comes from being registered as a charity, registered groups do not have to pay income tax, and people who choose to donate to them receive their money back in tax rebates. Losing charity status will cost Greenpeace a lot of money in the years ahead, and will discourage those on low incomes from donating. Read the rest of this entry »


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