Charities – a fit for purpose legal framework

About This Project

The Bishop’s Action Foundation (BAF) has been an active participant in the evolving discussion around New Zealand’s charities legislation since the consultation began on the original Charities Commission formed under the Charities Act 2005.  Since then BAF has worked closely with Sue Barker from Charities Law and Dave Henderson from Trust Democracy to support their ongoing exploration of this issue.  In 2018/2019 BAF partnered with them to provide a fund holder role enabling their community-based research designed to inform the review of the Charities Act (2005) by providing an evidence base for a world-leading framework for charities legislation and regulation in  Aotearoa NZ.

Following this work in 2019 the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship Te Karahipi Rangahau a Taiao was awarded to Sue Barker with her fellowship dedicated to the question “What does a world-leading framework of charities law look like?”  Her final report titled ‘Focus on purpose’ was released in April 2022 and makes 70 recommendations, including that the review of the Charities Act is transferred to an independent body, such as the New Zealand Law Commission, for an independent, first principles review taking into account the wider legal framework applicable to charities.  The report can be accessed at

BAF continues to be an active contributor to discussions on the future of legal, policy and structural issues for our charitable sector.

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