In August, the Law Commission tabled in Parliament its report "A New Act for Incorporated Societies (NZLC R129)". The report is available here.
As the title of the report suggests, the Law Commission recommends replacing the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 with a more modern statute to guide this sector in the future. In its media release the Commission emphasises that "[given] the important roles that societies play, it is important that societies are supported by clear, modern legislation that assists them and their members to attain their goals... Modern incorporated societies can be complex, often have substantial assets and may run significant businesses".
The Commission recommends that the new statute should provide guidance common to other statutes, including:
- statutory duties for the officers of societies;
- requirements for dealing with conflicts of interest; and
- a model constitution, which includes dispute resolution procedures.
Alongside these broader recommendations, the Commission makes numerous more specific recommendations, including that:
- the statute should make it clear that members should have no ownership interest in the society;
- the minimum number of members of a society should be reduced from 15 to 10 members;
- societies should be required to have a statutory officer and a committee of at least three members; and
- societies should be required to prepare and file at least simple annual financial reports.