Review of the Charities Act 2005

Key facts

The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector announced a review of the Charities Act 2005 on 24 May 2018. The Minister will be the key decision-maker on the review, with some decisions also requiring Cabinet approval. The Department of Internal Affairs will be the lead agency.

See the full press release on the Beehive website.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that the Charities Act is effective and fit for purpose. The comprehensive legislative review will focus on substantive issues arising under the Act, while recognising and building on the Act’s strengths.

Public consultation will occur later this year.

Indicative timeline

The following indicative timeline supersedes the original indicative timeline contained in the terms of reference for the review (below):


Indicative timing

Key activities

One – Establishment

No change – phase completed in May 2018

Develop and approve terms of reference

Publicly announce review

Two – Pre-consultation

May – Oct 2018

Establish Core Reference Group

Identify issues and possible solutions, develop discussion   document

Three – Consultation

Oct – Dec 2018

Launch discussion document

Public consultation

Four - Policy

Early-mid 2019

Review public submissions

Develop policy proposals for Cabinet approval

Five - legislation

Mid 2019 onwards

Develop draft legislation

Passage through the House of a Bill to amend the Act

Review documents

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview of the charitable sector and the Charities Act


The charitable sector contributes significantly to New Zealand society. These charities contribute in diverse areas including sports, recreation, arts, culture and heritage, emergency and social services, health, education, religion, conservation and the environment. There are more than 27,000 registered charities in New Zealand. The sector has an annual total income of more than $17 billion and it is supported by more than 350,000 volunteers and 200,000 paid part-time or full-time staff.

Charities Act 2005

In 2005, the Charities Act was enacted. The Act aims to promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector. It provides for the registration of societies, institutions, and trustees of trusts as charitable entities. It also places certain obligations on charitable entities, such as annual reporting. Being listed on the charities register entitles an organisation to tax exemptions on most income under the Income Tax Act 2007. Registration on the charities register is voluntary.

Link to Charities Act 2005 (Legislation NZ website)

Earlier announcements

February Charities Services newsletter

In the February 2018 edition of the Charities Services newsletter, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Peeni Henare, outlined that preparatory work to begin a review of the Charities Act was well underway.

Read the newsletter or to subscribe to future editions of the newsletter. (Charities website)

Contact the team

If you can’t find the information you need on this page or if you have any further questions please email