Board statement on The Self-Sovereignty Faith
Published 22 October 2021
In its decision dated 22 October 2021, Te Rātā Atawhai the Charities Registration Board (“the Board”) declined The Self-Sovereignty Faith’s (“the Society”) application to register as a charity.
The Board decided that the Society does not meet the requirements to qualify for registration under the Charities Act 2005 (“the Act”). It considered that the Society does not have a charitable purpose to advance religion because its beliefs are not sufficiently structured to be capable of advancing religion.
Qualification for registration
The Board considers that the Society’s primary purpose is to advance its beliefs. The issue for the Board, therefore, was whether this purpose constituted a charitable purpose to advance religion. The Board notes that an assessment of whether an entity advances religion is an objective application of what is considered charitable at law, and not what may constitute “religion” in a general sense.
Following the courts’ guidance, the Board considers that the Society has not demonstrated its beliefs constitute religion in a charitable sense. The Society’s beliefs are broad, non-definable, and allow adherents to act as they see fit, which the Board considers cannot give effect to a belief system capable of advancement.
The Board has also considered whether the Society’s purpose is capable of promoting moral or spiritual improvement for the public. For the same reasons, the Board considers the Society’s beliefs are not sufficiently structured to be capable of promoting moral or spiritual improvement for the public.
The Board has determined that the Society does not advance exclusively charitable purposes, and therefore does not meet registration requirements.
Role of the Board
The role of the Board is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register by ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration. Under the Act, the Board is responsible for registering and de-registering charities. The Board took over these functions from the former Charities Commission in 2012.
The Board makes its decisions by applying the law to the facts before it. The Board must decline to register applications from organisations when they do not advance exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit.
Charities Registration Board