New Zealand Charities and Accumulation: An Intergenerational Perspective

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The Charities Act 2005 Review and the recent Tax Working Group Report present an opportunity to deal with the accumulation of assets by New Zealand charities. Both reviews have identified the risks to public benefit and to public trust and confidence from accumulating too many assets for too long, without a sufficiently specific rationale. Both reviews identify private foundations and charities operating businesses as posing particular hazards. However, neither review grapples with any normative basis for the circumstances in which accumulation reduces public benefit. In other words, when should assets should be expended or accumulated as between different generations so as to enhance public benefit? Nor do the reviews really grapple with the problem of who is going to make the decision about when public benefit should be provided. This paper proposes “intergenerational justice” for a normative basis. Such an approach appears particularly suited to incorporating Te Ao Māori conceptions of wellbeing, most especially kaitiakitanga, or “stewardship”.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalNew Zealand Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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