Changes to the Policing Act 2008 which include cost recovery for certain police services, like vetting of people, will likely lead to more non-profit groups signing up to become a registered charity.

Volunteering Hawke's Bay's manager Renata Lehmann said she had initially been concerned to hear that the second reading of the Police (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill was taking place on Thursday night, but said the outcome, after it was passed, would not be as serious as originally feared.

Hawke's Bay volunteer groups had been concerned over the proposed changes to police vetting legislation, mainly the possible incurring of costs for the service, which they feared might affect their ability to help people and add to the "financial distress" of the volunteering sector across the board.

However, Ms Lehmann said paying for police vetting services would only affect non-profit organisations which were not signed up as a registered charity - as registered charities were exempt.


The bill had been put forward to enable cost recovery for certain police services where there was a degree of private benefit to the users of the service.

"It is not as bad as we feared," Ms Lehmann said.

"Registered charities don't need to pay."

She said the fact registered charities did not have to pay for vetting services of potential volunteers and staff would mean those unregistered would need to sign up to become registered.

The cost was $51 a year.

She believed just less than a third of the non-profit groups and charities throughout New Zealand were registered - but that would now likely change.

The supplementary order paper to the bill states that registered charities would be exempt from any fee or charge prescribed for specified demand purposes.

"This would mean that community and voluntary groups would continue to access police vetting services but be exempt from charges or fees for conducting this vetting."