Political advocacy group – Child Poverty Action Group Inc. [“CPAG”] – a registered charity (CC25387), and an incorporated society (No. 921414), is directed by Associate Professor Susan St John of the University of Auckland. [http://homes.eco.auckland.ac.nz/sstj003/] St John was appointed as an officer of CPAG on 5 June 2008 on the date the Society was granted charity status by the Charities Commission.
The NZ Herald reported yesterday that St John says CPAG was considering its next move in consultation with its lawyers, following a negative decision issued by the Court of Appeal against its challenge to the Government’s in-work tax credit, that claimed discrimination against beneficiaries. CPAG took the case to the Court of Appeal, which was heard in May 2013, after both The Human Rights Review Tribunal and the High Court ruled against it.
Who exactly are these CPAG lawyers? What fees have they been charging the charity to engage in political advocacy?
These questions are important as none of the financial accounts lodged by CPAG with the Charities Commission and/or Register of Incorporated Societies record any costs (or associated liabilities) incurred by it in legal action. CPAG remains in breach of the law having failed to file financial statements for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 – the three years prior to it gaining charity status. As an incorporated society, CPAG is required by law – the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 – to do so. How could such a group with its financial accounts in such apparent disarray and continuing to remain in breach of the law, be granted charity status and continue to operate as a political lobby group/political advocacy group?
NZ Herald. Story by Lucy Bennett. 30 August 2013