Two charities linked to Destiny Church will be stripped of their charitable status after repeatedly failing to provide annual financial returns.
Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited are two of the biggest charities of Destiny Church, founded by controversial pastor Brian Tamaki and his wife Hannah Tamaki. Hannah Tamaki is on the board of both charities.
The Charities Registration Board confirmed today it had decided to remove both organisations from the Charities Register, effective December 20.
Both charities are considering appealing the decision.
The move will strip both organisations of their tax-exempt status. The Department of Internal Affairs did not confirm whether the charities would be required to backpay taxes.
Both charities were warned in October that they faced deregistration after failing to provide their annual returns for two years running.
Church spokeswoman Anne Williamson said at the time the charities were "on a journey" and she was confident their returns would be completed before a final extended deadline.
She said the delay was due to new Charities Commission criteria.
"We're working with a very reputable auditor who's being very thorough. We're very happy with the process."
Roger Holmes Miller, chairman of the independent Charities Registration Board, said the DIA sent notices to both charities informing them they would be deregistered after failing to meet the extended deadline.
Both filed objections to the decision, but an independent Charities Registration Board considered their case yesterday and decided to proceed with deregistration, Holmes Miller said.
"The board considered the objections but was satisfied that it is in the public interest to proceed with the removal of the charities from the register.
"The board was also satisfied that the grounds for removal have been met as there has been a persistent failure by the charities to meet their obligations under the Act."
At its meeting the board noted in particular that the charities had a "history of non-compliance with annual return obligations", he said.
"The board considered that the integrity of the Charities Register would not be maintained if charities persistently fail to meet their obligations to file annual returns under the Act."
Both charities have the option of lodging an appeal with the High Court by December 20.
The charities this evening said they want the decision recalled - and have demanded an apology for the way the process has been carried out.
"Barring that, the charities will have no choice but to lodge an appeal to prevent the removal," Destiny's spokeswoman Anne Williamson said.
"Destiny remains committed to meeting its requirements under the Charities Act for its 31st March 2017 annual returns which were only due 30 September 2017 , and will continue to work with Grant Thornton NZ Audit Partnership to complete these returns by 1st December 2017, as it said it would," Williamson said in a statement.
"Charities Services of Internal Affairs have been advised of this and the genuine reasons for why this return has been delayed.
"The 31st March 2016 annual return has been correctly filed and no criticism of it or its compliance has been received by the Charites. Nor is criticism expected as it has been professionally audited."