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Clevedon Village Trust

10 May 2017

The independent Charities Registration Board (the Board) has registered the Clevedon Village Trust (the Trust) as a charity. The Board found that the Trust’s main purposes were focused firstly on the development of a master plan for Clevedon that is based on engagement with the Clevedon community, and then advocating for the plan to be adopted by key stakeholders.

The Board considers that the Trust’s purpose to develop a master plan for Clevedon falls under the charitable purpose “another matter beneficial to the community” of the Charities Act 2005 (section 5.1). The Board considers that the purpose of developing a master plan is similar to promoting good citizenship and maintenance of the law.

When assessing the Trust’s advocacy in support of the master plan, the Board applied the ‘three part test’ outlined by the Supreme Court in Re Greenpeaceof New Zealand Incorporated [2014] NZSC 105. This required the Board to consider:

  1. the end goal the organisation wanted to achieve;
  2. how the organisation intended to achieve the end goal; and
  3.  the particular methods the organisation would use to achieve its end goal.

The Trust’s end goal can be best characterised by the stated purposes: promoting, preserving, protecting and enhancing the present rural village atmosphere, appearance, amenities and heritage of Clevedon.

The Board considers that the Trust intends to achieve this end goal by developing the master plan, and then advocating for the specific positions adopted in the plan to be applied, particularly in relation to community improvement.

Finally, the Trust plans to hold community and stakeholder meetings to encourage decision makers and landowners to adopt the master plan.

To assess whether there is public benefit in the Trust’s advocacy, the Board considered that the master plan’s proposals were similar to previously accepted charitable purpose. The courts have accepted that the promotion of an area’s public amenities and heritage values for the benefit of the public can be charitable. The Board considers that in this case, an accepted public benefit is achieved because the purpose of the master plan was to balance housing development with the improvement of appearance, amenities and infrastructure.  The Board considers that the master plan is directed towards the beautification of an area, and the improvement of public amenities and infrastructure. These benefits are similar to previously accepted charitable benefits.

The Board considers this to be different from other organisations who may advocate for their views on how an area should be developed, which may not always be similar to purposes accepted as charitable in previous cases.

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