Charities which were “all sizzle and no sausage” should miss out on official recognition and the accompanying tax breaks, the Supreme Court has been told.
The court is hearing argument today about what limits should be placed on the advocacy work of charities before they go beyond what is allowable for a charity.
Environmental and peace organisation Greenpeace is arguing its political advocacy should not disqualify it from having charitable status.
They are a lobby group, not a charity. If Greenpeace can qualify to be a charity, then so can almost every lobby group in New Zealand.
At the moment this “charity” is running a billboard campaign personally attacking a Government Minister and calling him a liar.
The lawyer for the Charities Registration Board Peter Gunn, said the law permitted charities to be advocates but you could not have a charity that was only an advocate.
“You can’t have just sizzle and no sausage,” he said.
That’s a good point. Does Greenpeace actually do anything practical to help the environment? Or do they just do campaigns?
To compare them to Forest & Bird, F&B do actually do a lot of actual conservation work – and they advocate on conservation issues also. Greenpeace seem to do nothing but run political campaigns.
Earlier Greenpeace’s lawyer, Davey Salmon, said Greenpeace and many other charities “engaged” with parliament and government.
They were asked to make submissions to select committees and they lobbied to change government policy.
They liaised with government often at government’s request, Mr Salmon said.
Okay here’s a challenge. Name one occassion since 2008 when the Government has requested Greenpeace to liaise with it? I don’t mean the standard “Here is a bill or policy which we seek feedback on which goes to everyone on a department mailing list”. I mean something significant.