Child Poverty Action Group Inc., [“CPAG”] a registered charity (Charity No. CC25387) deeply committed to political advocacy, has had its appeal to the Court of Appeal to have the Working for Families package made available to beneficiaries, dismissed. The appeal was heard in May 2013. Wikipedia describes CPAG as a “political advocacy group for the abolition of poverty and social exclusion, led by senior University of Auckland economist Susan St John” [appointed CPAG officer 5/06/08].
In 2006 the Government enacted the Working for Families tax-credit scheme to offer financial support for struggling families. CPAG which was registered as a charity with the Charities Commission on the 5th of June 2008, alleged the scheme’s in-work tax credit discriminated against people who receive income-tested benefit, as those who already received benefits were ineligible.
On Thursday 18 May 2006 CPAG defeated a New Zealand Government appeal in the High Court that would have prevented it from taking “legal action against the Government’s Working for Families package.” CPAG decided to take legal action because it felt that the Working for Families package discriminated against the children of parents on benefits. [see ref. 1]
CPAG had a total gross income of $156,962 for the financial year ended 31 March 2012, including $100,000 received from the JR McKenzie Trust and $30,729 from donations. Its total expenses were $118,298 and from that $42,600 was paid out in wages for “administration” and $59,288 in wages to a “researcher”. The total wages $101,888 paid out to three people employed part-time and together working on average a total of 60 hours per week, plus ACC ($567 paid on behalf of employees); constitutes 65% of total gross income of the charity. If the “office administration” costs of $3,393 are added to these expenses, the figure increases to $67%.
The Office of Human Rights Proceedings (OHRP) represented CPAG in both the Human Rights Tribunal and the High Court cases relating to the In-Work Tax Credit case.
As an incorporated society (No. 921414), registered as such on 13 August 1998 under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908; CPAG has failed to comply with the law and file Financial Statements for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 with the Companies Office. Despite these serious breaches of the law, the Charities Commission registered the entity as a charity on 5th June 2008.
CPAG officers amended the entity’s constitution on 10 April 2008, shortly before it was registered as a charity with the Charities Commission. Nothing in the constitution empowers or authorises its officers to take legal action in a political advocacy role to challenge existing laws as part of its “charitable activities”.
4. Dominion Post, August 31, p. A3.
Poverty group’s appeal against tax credit dismissed.
By Lucy Bennett. 31 August 2013
Child Poverty Action Group website:
Child Poverty Action Group v Attorney-General: employment status discrimination
See: Links –
High Court Decision