30 May 2014

'Elizabethan' charity laws need overhaul

2:50 pm on 30 May 2014

The Green Party says the Government needs to overhaul what it calls 'Elizabethan charity laws' after a multi-million-dollar blunder which blindsided the housing minister.

The Government has fronted up with $6 million to pay the Queenstown Lakes Housing Trust's tax bill, after the Charities Commission stripped it of its charity status.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says the Commission's decision took him by surprise.

As a result of the Charities Commission decision the Government has paid the Trust's bill and introduced legislation to clearly exempt other community housing providers from having to pay tax.

But the Greens say the law needs to be completely overhauled to expand the definition of a charity.