The Charities Commission has never raised doubts about continuing InternetNZ’s status “as far as we know”, says chief executive Vikram Kumar.
Kumar was responding to enquiries following the revelation that the New Zealand Computer Society has lost its charitable status.
Having read the commission’s decision in respect of the Computer Society (before Computerworld contacted him) Kumar is confident that InternetNZ fulfils the “public benefit” criterion, on which the NZCS was ruled out.
“InternetNZ provides a platform for its members to contribute to the wider community,” Kumar says. “Our mission and activities are clearly aimed at public benefit. Further, exclusion of pecuniary benefit to individual members is written into our Constitution, Bylaws, and governance arrangements.”
A spokeswoman for the Commission says it does not comment on individual organisations and “it would take a lawyer” to give a reliable assessment of a particular organisation’s eligibility. She will not say whether InternetNZ has ever been “monitored” or “investigated” – the two ways the commission assesses continued eligibility for charitable status.
Monitoring means the commission, on its own initiative, takes a sample from time to time of organisations concerned with a particular sector of the community and reassesses their eligibility, she explains.
Investigation of a particular organisation is launched on the basis of particular information. This may be a result of a complaint or may arise from the organisation’s own documentation, such as the annual return each has to file with the commission.