Ray Avery versus Helen Clark

Helen Clark has been involved in a stoush with Ray Avery over a proposed charity concert at Eden Park on Waitangi Day next year.

RNZ: Helen Clark fires back at Sir Ray Avery

Helen Clark says Sir Ray Avery has adopted a “bullying approach” after she voiced opposition to a charity concert he wants to hold at Eden Park.

Ms Clark lives about 400m from the stadium where Sir Ray hopes put on a Live Aid-style concert to raise funds for premature babies.

The former prime minister called the proposal a Trojan horse that would pave the way for more concerts at the venue.

Sir Ray, formerly named New Zealander of the year, countered that she was engaging in “petty politics” on an issue that involved saving children’s lives

Ms Clark told Checkpoint with John Campbell that she was merely exercising her rights as a Mt Eden resident, pointing out that there were many alternative venues for the event.

“I guess my point is, how does this make the ordinary citizen around Eden Park feel that if you put your head up and oppose something that a prominent New Zealander wants that you’re going to be savaged in the media and called all sorts of things?”

She compared Sir Ray’s remarks to those of a social media troll.

“There’s a particular type of troll on [sites like Twitter] which pretty much falls into line with the rather bullying approach that Mr Avery has adopted.

“Now, he’s probably picked the wrong person to try to bully in directly attacking me.”

Avery has been interviewed on the Nation this morning.

Sir Ray Avery apologises to Helen Clark if he has come across as a bully, but also said said Clark’s position on the Eden Park concert is “morally wrong”

…says the international act coming to his charity concert is “huge” and a male act

Avery says that the cost of bringing in a high profile international act was huge so they needed a venue of the size of Eden Park to cover costs and raise money.

There seems to be a strong group of Nimbys who are staunchly against anything musical (apart from sports event clips) at Eden Park.

I suspect Clark may regret making an issue of this, but she is in an awkward position being anti noise at Eden Park, so make find it difficult to support the charity and concert.

Just one concert doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s understandable for opponents to fear that it could open the floodgates and rock the neighbourhood, but the ‘not in my backyard’ protests can be a bit too precious about protecting a quiet way of life for themselves in the middle of a large city.

 

Charges filed against Trump charity

More potential legal distractions and problems for Donald Trump and his children.

Reuters: New York sues Trump and his charity over ‘self-dealing’

The New York state attorney general sued U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and his foundation on Thursday, saying he illegally used the nonprofit as a personal “checkbook” for his own benefit, including his 2016 presidential campaign.

Barbara Underwood, the attorney general, asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation and to ban Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and his daughter Ivanka from holding leadership roles in New York charities. The three children joined the foundation’s board in 2006, although Ivanka stepped down to work at the White House in 2017.

Underwood said her office’s 21-month investigation, begun under her predecessor Eric Schneiderman, uncovered “extensive unlawful political coordination” by the foundation with Trump’s campaign, as well as “repeated and willful self-dealing” to benefit Trump’s personal, business and political interests.

“Mr. Trump ran the Foundation according to his whim, rather than the law,” the lawsuit said.

CNN: New York attorney general sues Trump Foundation

The complaint alleges that the Trump Foundation engaged in repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Trump’s personal and business interests.

“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his business to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Underwood said. “This is not how private foundations should function, and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”

The investigation also found that the board existed in name only and did not meet after 1999. Additionally, Trump allegedly made all decisions related to the foundation.

“This is politics at its very worst,” a Trump Foundation representative said in a statement. “The Foundation has donated over $19 million to worthy charitable causes — more than it even received. The President himself — or through his companies – has contributed more than $8 million. The reason the Foundation was able to donate more than it took in is because it had little to no expenses. This is unheard of for a charitable foundation. The Foundation currently has $1.7 million remaining which the NYAG has been holding hostage for political gain. This is unconscionable — particularly because the Foundation previously announced its intention to dissolve more than a year and a half ago. The prior NYAG, who was recently forced to resign from office in disgrace, made it his stated mission to use this matter to not only advance his own political goals, but also for his own political fundraising. The acting NYAG’s recent statement that battling the White House is ‘the most important work (she) have ever done’ shows that such political attacks will continue unabated.”

Fox News: New York AG files lawsuit against Trump Foundation for alleged ‘illegal conduct;’ Trump says he ‘won’t settle’

The New York state attorney general’s office on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation for alleged illegal conduct and “unlawful political coordination” to benefit personal and business interests, drawing a harsh Twitter rebuke from President Trump.

No one should be surprised by Fox promoting Trump’s views, and no one will be surprised by Trump reacting via Twitter.

The New York  Attorney General responded:

“This is not either a sleazy or political action. … this is a straightforward case of violation of the laws governing charitable foundations and nonprofit corporations in New York.”

It will be settled in the legal system – no doubt with a lot of public posturing.

But this is an awkward and unwelcome distraction for Trump. It also drags in his three children.

Greenpeace declined charity status

A few days after delivering a petition against oil and gas exploration to Parliament (received by Jacinda Ardern) Greenpeace has been declined charity status

In its decision dated 21 March 2018 the independent Charities Registration Board has decided to decline Greenpeace’s application to be a registered charity because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes.

The Board considers that Greenpeacehas an independent purpose to promote its own particular views about the environment and other issues.

The independent Board also said that Greenpeace and it’s members being involved in illegal activities disqualifies it from registration.


Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated

The role of the independent Charities Registration Board (“the Board”) is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register by ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration. The Board makes its decisions based on the facts before it applying the law including relevant case law. The Board must decline organisations’ applications for registration when they do not advance exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit. A purpose is charitable if it advances public benefit in a way that is analogous to cases that have previously been held to be charitable.

The Board has decided that Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated (“Greenpeace”) does not meet the legal requirements to be registered as a charity and has declined its application.

In 2014 the Supreme Court directed the Board to reconsider Greenpeace’s application in light of Greenpeace’s amended stated purposes and the Court’s decision.  The Board has carried out a full reconsideration of Greenpeace’s application and applied the principles decided in the courts to reach its decision.

The Board considers Greenpeace does not qualify for registration for two main grounds:

  1. Greenpeace promotes its points of view on the environment and other issues in ways that cannot be found to be for the benefit of the public.
  2. Greenpeace and its members’ involvement in illegal activities amounts to an illegal purpose which disqualifies it from registration.

Promotion of points of view

The Board considers that Greenpeace has an independent purpose to advocate its own particular views about the environment and other issues which does not advance a public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable.

Although the Supreme Court in Greenpeace held that advocacy can be charitable, it indicated that promoting a cause or advocating a particular viewpoint will not often be charitable. This is because it is not possible to say whether the views promoted are for the public benefit in the way the law recognises as charitable.

The Board considers that Greenpeace’s focus is on advocating its point of view on environmental issues such fossil fuel exploration and the expansion of intensive dairy farming.  Most of Greenpeace’s environmental advocacy cannot be determined to be in the public benefit when all the potential consequences of adopting its views are taken into account.

Greenpeace has the freedom to continue to communicate its views and to influence policy and legislation but the Board has found that Greenpeace’s pursuit of these activities do not qualify as being for the public benefit in a charitable sense.

Illegal purpose

The Supreme Court confirmed that an illegal purpose will disqualify an organisation from being registered as a charity. In some cases, an illegal purpose can be inferred from an organisation’s involvement in illegal activities.

The Board found that Greenpeace directly coordinates and authorises its members to carry out illegal activities, such as trespass on ships and buildings.  There is no evidence that Greenpeace has any processes in place to discourage its members from carrying out illegal activities.

The Board considers the illegal activities form a pattern of behaviour from which an illegal purpose can be inferred. Greenpeace’s illegal purpose means that it is disqualified from registration as a charity.

The Board’s full decision: Greenpeace-of-New-Zealand-Incorporated-Decision.pdf

The Charities Registration Board’s statement regarding the decision can be found here.

Family First loses charitable status but not ‘muzzled’

Family First has been removed fromn the charities register “because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes”

Update on Family First New Zealand from the Independent Charities Registration Board

Published 21 August 2017

In its decision dated 21 August 2017 the independent Charities Registration Board has decided to remove Family First New Zealand from the Charities Register because it does not qualify for registration.

The role of the independent Charities Registration Board (“the Board”) is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register by ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration.

The Board can direct charities to be removed from the Charities Register when they do not advance a charitable purpose for the public benefit and it is in the public interest to remove them.

The Board’s decision is to remove Family First New Zealand (“Family First”) from the Charities Register because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes.

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable. Family First has the freedom to continue to communicate its views and influence policy and legislation but the Board has found that Family First’s pursuit of those activities do not qualify as being for the public benefit in a charitable sense.

In April 2013 the Board previously made the decision to remove Family First from the Charities Register because it did not advance exclusively charitable purposes. That decision was appealed to the High Court by Family First. In June 2015 the High Court directed the Board to reconsider its decision in light of the 2014 Supreme Court Greenpeace judgment and its own judgment.

This decision represents the Board’s reconsideration of Family First’s eligibility for registration.

Roger Holmes Miller
Chair, Charities Registration Board

View the decision here /

But Family First will fight the decision.

Stuff:  Charities Commission strips Family First of charitable status

But the group is not going down without a fight, saying it will argue the decision in the High Court.

The decision by the Charities Registration Board was made public on Monday. It is the second time the board has tried to deregister the group.

In 2013, the board made the decision to remove Family First from the Charities Register because it did not advance exclusively charitable purposes.

Family First appealed that decision to the High Court.

In June 2015, the High Court directed the board to reconsider its decision in light of the 2014 Supreme Court Greenpeace judgment and its own judgment.

The latest decision represented the board’s reconsideration of Family First’s eligibility for registration.

Family First have responded:

Family First To Charities Board – See You Back In Court

Family First NZ has instructed its lawyer to file an immediate Notice of Appeal in the Wellington High Court against the Charities Board’s formal decision to deregister Family First NZ.

Family First is going back to the same court to challenge again the belief of the Trust Board that our views about marriage and the traditional family “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable”.

“This is a less-than-satisfactory procedure of trudging back to the same court. It seems that the Charities Board are simply hoping for a different judge and a more favourable decision. It is a highly politicised and inconsistent decision by the Board and will have a chilling effect for many not-for-profit charitable groups – both registered, deregistered and wanting to be registered – who advocate for causes, beliefs, and on behalf of their supporters, and often have to engage in advocacy at a political level, not always through choice but through necessity,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Justice Collins in the earlier decision in the Wellington High Court in 2015 recognised the strength of Family First’s argument that its advocacy for the concept “…of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that have advocated for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society.…” The Charities Board was also scolded by Justice Collins who said “…Members of the Charities Board may personally disagree with the views of Family First, but at the same time recognise there is a legitimate analogy between its role and those organisations that have been recognised as charities.”

It appears that certain views of marriage and family are now deemed out-of-bounds by the State. We’ll fight that political correctness and muzzling of free speech,” says Mr McCoskrie.

That’s nonsense. McCoskrie is not muzzled, he speaking out here unhindered.

“Family First will appeal this decision as far as we need to, not because we have to have charitable status to exist, but because of the threat it places on other charities and their freedom to speak and advocate on behalf of their supporters in a civil society.”

It doesn’t stop Family First from speaking and advocating, it just removes their charity status.

Family First losing charity status

NZ Herald reports: Exclusive: Family First to lose charitable status

Family First is set to lose its charitable status, the Herald has exclusively learned.

The group was first notified by the Charities Registration Board in 2013 that its charitable status was in danger.

That was because the group advocated a controversial point of view, that was seen as lobbying for a political purpose.

The decision was challenged in court, and in 2015 the High Court ordered the Board to reconsider its decision.

The High Court decision did not rule on whether or not Family First was a charity.

The Herald understands that decision has now been reconsidered, and that the formal notification process is underway to tell Family First it is being deregistered as a charity.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said they’d be going straight to their legal team and instructing them to take the matter back to court.

“It may go as high as Supreme Court, because we’re not going to lie down on this one.

That may not be cheap, but neither will losing their charity status.

The Charities Registration Board has been more active over the last few years in reassessing the status of charities that also operate as political advocates or activists.

US abuse of charities in politics

There are a lot of abuses in the US involving money in politics. Huge amounts of money are involved, being used to try and attain huge amounts of power. Regulations and laws are generally pathetic when it comes to controlling abuses.

The Washington Post has a story that shows how easy it is to abuse the intent of charities as a way of financing political activism tax free.

Trump adviser received salary from charity while steering Breitbart News

Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon accepted $376,000 in pay over four years for working 30 hours a week at a tiny tax-exempt charity in Tallahassee while also serving as the hands-on executive chairman of Breitbart News Network.

During the same four-year period, the charity paid about $1.3 million in salaries to two other journalists who said they put in 40 hours a week there while also working for the politically conservative news outlet, according to publicly available documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The salary payments are one part of a close relationship between the nonprofit Government Accountability Institute, a conservative investigative research organization, and for-profit Breitbart News.

Breitbart News openly and actively promoted Trump and trashed Clinton. Bannon was employed as a Trump campaign advisor in August, and will now become one of Trump’s most senior assistants.

The ties between the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) and Breitbart call into question the assertions the institute made in filings to the IRS that it is an independent, nonpartisan operation, according to philanthropic specialists and former IRS officials.

Bannon launched the institute in 2012, shortly after taking the helm of Breitbart. He sought tax-exempt status from the IRS by describing the institute as an education group to help the United States and other countries maintain a “higher quality of life” through “promotion of economic freedom,” according to IRS filings.

The institute’s board of directors included Rebekah Mercer, director of the conservative family charity, who has become an influential adviser to Bannon and Trump, disclosure forms show.

So it’s a tax free sham, like many US political organisations.

Under federal code, tax-exempt groups known as 501(c)3 public charities must “not participate in, or intervene in [including the publishing or distributing of statements], any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for public office.” 

That’s a joke.

GAI spokeswoman Sandy Schulz told The Post the institute “is and always has been in total compliance with all 501(c)3 rules.”

So is that, but like others they get away with it.

Rob Reich, a political science professor at Stanford University who studies philanthropy, said the IRS regulations are poorly written and difficult to enforce. As a consequence, ideologically driven charities across the political spectrum are taking advantage of the agency’s minimal oversight.

Huge amounts of money slosh around with impunity in the United States’ corrupt democracy.

New Zealanders give a lot to charity

New Zealanders are relatively generous to charities, with many giving money and time.

It is estimated that “there’s 400,000 New Zealanders giving in some way every week…and more than a million giving at some time during the year”.

And those numbers may underestimate how many are involved, with single donations effectively coming from multiple people in families.

Stuff reports: New Zealand ranked the second most charitable country in the world

New Zealand is placed second in a list of the most charitable countries around the globe, with the United States taking the top spot.

A report released on Sunday from the Charities Aid Foundation showed that individual Kiwis giving to charity made up 0.79 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

CharityGiving

Interesting to see that the capitalist country many people seem to love to hate, USA, clearly top of the charity giving ladder.

Community and voluntary sector minister Jo Goodhew said there was an “enormous personal satisfaction” in making a positive difference in the lives of other people.

The report said there was a correlation between other aspects of giving, such as volunteer time and good deeds, with giving money.

“Each year, New Zealand’s volunteers contribute around 270 million hours to the community, providing approximately 67 per cent of the non-profit workforce and contributing about 2.3 per cent to New Zealand’s GDP,” said Goodhew.

She said Kiwis ranked third in November last year in a study by the same foundation, on the “world’s giving index”.

“There’s 400,000 New Zealanders giving in some way every week…and more than a million giving at some time during the year.

“I think that’s something we should all be very proud of.”

 

Charity ruling on Family First

Accompanying  a letter to Family First dated 26th April from Internal Afairs Charity Services…

FamFirst Letter

…the reasons for deregistering Family First as a charity were detailed. Curiously this was sent about two weeks ago, Family First only publicised it this week claiming they were being punished for opposing the marriage bill.

The Marriage Bill passed it’s third and final vote on April 17th.

Here is the main part of the decision summary:

FamFirst Ruling

Link to full ruling document: http://t.co/Zs2s1EAV8j

Family First stripped of charity status

Newstalk ZB report:

Family First no longer a charity

Disappointment from the Family First group, following news it’s about to have its charitable status taken away.

Family First says the commission is listing the group’s view of one-man, one-woman marriage as a reason for de-registering it.

The group’s national director Bob McCoskrie says it seems almost illegal to hold a viewpoint.

“Whichever side of the fence you’re on in any debate should be concerned that Charities Commission deems it to be uncharitable to speak up for a public interest issue.”

Family First doesn’t say what other reasons have been given, but they seem to have become more of a political campaign organisation than a charity. From their web page:

They also say:

Registered Charity
Our Charity Registration number is: CC10094. For further details, please click here for link to Charities Commission website.

That link doesn’t work, I don’t know if that’s due to the de-registering (it is reported to take effect from 27th May) or if it was a bad link.

The Charities Commission on Charitable purpose:

Charitable purpose has a special meaning in law. We use examples to illustrate the treatment of charitable purpose under the Charities Act.

Section 5(1) of the Charities Act 2005 says that “charitable purpose” “…includes every charitable purpose, whether it relates to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community.” The law surrounding charitable purposes is 400 years old. It has been developed over time mainly by judges’ decisions in court cases.

“Charitable purpose” has a special meaning in law. It may include some purposes the public would not consider to be charitable and it may exclude other purposes the public would consider to be charitable. We will compare the purposes and activities set out in your rules or governing document and the activities listed in your application form against the meaning of “charitable purpose” in section 5(1) of the Charities Act.

How will we know whether our organisation has a “charitable purpose”?

We assess each application we receive on a case-by-case basis, with reference to decisions made in earlier court cases, to decide whether the organisation applying has a “charitable purpose”.

In order for a purpose to be charitable, it must —

  • fall within one of the four charitable purposes set out in section 5(1) of the Charities Act and
  • provide a public benefit and
  • not be aimed at creating private financial profit.

In some cases, a specific Act of Parliament will state that the purposes of a particular organisation are charitable. See more in depth examples

Family First – ‘About Us’ :

“New Zealanders need a voice that can research and advocate for strong families and safe communities, which is why we started Family First.”

Family First will:

  • be a voice for the family in the media speaking up about issues relating to families that are in the public domain
  • promote and advance research and policy supporting marriage and family as foundational to a strong and enduring society
  • participate in social analysis and debate surrounding issues relating to and affecting the family being promoted by academics, policy makers, social service organisations and media, and to network with other like-minded groups and academics
  • produce and publish relevant and stimulating material in newspapers, magazines, and other media relating to issues affecting families
  • speak from a family friendly perspective with an emphasis on the Judeo-Christian values which have benefited New Zealand for generations.

 

Holly Walker wrong to emphasise Government fixes

Green MP Holly Walker has blogged We shouldn’t need to sponsor kids in NZ…

The Dominion Post reports this morning about children’s charity Variety’s new Kiwi Kid sponsorship initiative. For around $35 a month, donors can “sponsor” a New Zealand child living below the poverty line. The donations go towards things like school trips, doctor’s visits, books, and prescriptions.

What does it say about our values as a country that we have allowed things to get this bad? Why should charities and even big corporates have to step in to provide the most basic necessities for our children?

I would much prefer to live in a New Zealand where there was a social and political consensus that the state guarantees that every child has the essentials for a good start in life. When we can do that, we guarantee them the opportunity to grow up to make a great contribution, even from the most challenging circumstances.

So yes, it’s good that Variety, KidsCan, and others have stepped in to fill the yawning chasm of child poverty that too many of our kids are falling into. But let’s take this as a challenge and demand governments that will eradicate the need for such schemes by guaranteeing the essentials for all our kids – not just those lucky enough to get a sponsor.

I disagree. We should encourage more voluntary charity, and the more local the better so you can contribute to your own community.

And we should encourage mor epersonal and family based solutions.

Sitting back expect Government to fix everything is one of our biggest problems. As is politicians who think they can fix everything by compulsion.

Politicians should try inspiring more people to help themselves, and more communities to work together to help and support each other more – it may mean less political power but it will potentially achieve far more.

Be leaders, not power grabbers.