Peter Dunne says Destiny Church should pay tax

Peter Dunne has echoed calls from the public to strip Destiny Church of its tax-exempt status after its controversial leader Bishop Brian Tamaki blamed the Kaikoura earthquake on gays, sinners and murders.

On Thursday Dunne tweeted "I do not favour taxing genuine churches & real charities, but as Destiny is obviously neither it should pay taxes like any other business".

As Internal Affairs Minister, the United Future leader oversees the registration of charities.

But a spokesman for Dunne's office said removing the church's tax-exemption status wasn't within his power.

To qualify for tax-exemption an organisation must meet "rigorous" criteria, such as proving it had a "social community objective, not to enhance the benefit of an individual", the spokesman said.

He told the Herald deregistering a charity was a lengthy process and if the petition went before Parliament a select committee would make a recommendation before referring the issue to Charities Services.

The Charities Services would then conduct a review determine whether the organisation fulfilled the criteria, the spokesman said.

- NZ Herald

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