Greenpeace New Zealand, the local arm of the environmental lobby group, posted a 69 per cent drop in full-year profit after it made a bigger payout to its global parent and reaped less from donations.

Profit fell to $549,009 in calendar 2011, from $1.78 million a year earlier, according to Greenpeace's financial statements. Sales slipped about 8 per cent to $8.3 million.

The Auckland-based lobby group increased its contribution to Greenpeace International by about $450,000 to $1.9 million in 2011. The contribution was based on its income from the previous two years and included donations for the new Rainbow Warrior vessel, launched in October.

"It wasn't that 2011 was a bad year but we were lucky enough to receive a couple of large requests a couple of years before," said Amanda Briggs-Hastie, Greenpeace's support engagement director.


"Then because of the launch of the Rainbow Warrior we did a lot more fundraising and all that money was all sent to Greenpeace International."

In 2010 Greenpeace took in $9.4 million donations, the most in at least a decade, after a higher-than-usual number of bequests at about 1 million.

Briggs-Hastie said under the current economic climate in New Zealand Greenpeace has struggled to increase its donor base.

"It has been a tough economic climate for us - it has been harder to sign up donors using traditional face-to-face methods," Briggs-Hastie said. "It's much harder to engage people and get their attention."

The related entity Greenpeace Educational Trust, which shares several trustees and a building, posted a loss of $83,514 in the 12 months ended December 31 from a profit of $2.5 million a year earlier.

"We were given a large donation to purchase the building that year," said Katja Carson, organisational director. "Since then the only income we receive is the revenue from the building we own."

The trust was set up to replace the Greenpeace Charitable Trust after that body lost a High Court appeal against the Charities Commission refusing to recognise it as a charity in 2010. It promotes conservation values, protects the natural environment and educates people.