Update on Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated from the Independent Charities Registration Board
Published 21 March 2018
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 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 to register applications from organisations when they do not advance exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit.
The Board has declined Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated’s (“Greenpeace”) application to be registered as a charity because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes.
The Board considers that Greenpeace has an independent purpose to promote its own particular views about the environment and other issues. While Greenpeace of course has the freedom to communicate these particular views, to be registered as a charity and receive the benefits that flow from that registration, they must advance a public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable by the courts. It is the Board’s view that they do not.
The Board also considers that Greenpeace and its members are involved in illegal activities from which an illegal purpose can be inferred. Greenpeace’s illegal purpose disqualifies it from being registered as a charity.
In April 2010 the former Charities Commission made the decision to decline Greenpeace’s application for registration because it did not advance exclusively charitable purposes. The decision was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court by Greenpeace. In August 2014 the Supreme Court directed the Board to reconsider Greenpeace’s application in light of changes to Greenpeace’s stated purposes and its own judgment.
This decision represents the Board’s reconsideration of Greenpeace’s application for registration.
Charities Registration Board