Charities face more scrutiny

Commerce Minister Craig Foss. Photo / AP
Commerce Minister Craig Foss. Photo / AP

New Zealand's biggest charities could face more scrutiny under proposals released by the Government today.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss has released a discussion paper proposing new auditing rules for high-spending charities.

Registered charities are currently required to include financial statements in their annual return when it is lodged with the Charities Commission, but there is no requirement for the financial statements to be independently audited or reviewed.

Under changes proposed in the discussion paper, charities that spend more than $300,000 a year would have their financial statements audited, and charities spending between $200,000 and $300,000 would be required to complete an audit or assurance engagement.

"Charities make a valuable contribution to society and it's important to get the balance right. They must be transparent and accountable but not subject to too much interference," Mr Foss said.

"This paper considers how to make the industry fairer; we don't want a few organisations damaging the reputation of all New Zealand charities."

Mr Foss said the proposed changes would only affect the largest 20 per cent of charities in New Zealand.

Submissions on the paper close on July 20.


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