Petition seeks to make all religious institutions pay tax


On 6 March a petition to Parliament was launched seeking to remove tax free status from all religious institutions.

The petition requests: “That the House of Representatives pass legislation to tax all religious institutions.”

The reason for the petition is:  “Destiny Church and similar evangelical institutions are having a direct and negative impact on the vulnerable population.

Many followers are pressured to send more money to the church instead of feeding their children or paying bills. Income is often seen being spent on extravagance.”

The petition is in the name of Kieran McKewen. It closes on 30 June. So far about 600 people have signed the petition.

On March 7 Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Peeni Henare announced that a comprehensive . review of the Charities Act 2005 is underway.

Henare said feedback, including a public consultation process, is currently being sought from sector representatives on the scope of the review.

In an opinion piece, TVNZ reporter Luke Appleby said a review is “arguably the most overdue task on New Zealand’s charity to-do list.”

He pointed out that under current New Zealand law the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose adherents call themselves Pastafarians could legally obtain tax exemption if they registered as a charity.

“It raises interesting questions about what it means to be religious, what religion is and how it should be treated under New Zealand law.”

He said it was a complex matter and he did not claim to have the answers.



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News category: New Zealand.

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