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Are you involved in a or club or a society?

A new Incorporated Societies Act is soon to be introduced into New Zealand law which will completely change the way that Incorporated Societies are governed.

The Incorporated Societies Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17 March 2021 and is now at a Select Committee. It is a well overdue replacement of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 and it will completely reform Incorporated Societies in New Zealand.

Incorporated societies include for example, sports clubs, music clubs and social groups. Soon, all Incorporated Societies will need to consider some fundamental changes to ensure that they are compliant with the new Act.

Over 100 years have passed since the current Act was brought into effect, and accordingly, the world that we live in has changed significantly over that time. As such, the new Act will be more reflective of our current world with large and sophisticated incorporated societies being a significant part of our everyday life.

One of the main effects of the Act is that a society’s constitution must comply with the constitution requirements of the Act. Under the new Act, a constitution must include the following:

  • The society’s name and purpose;
  • How people can become members;
  • Provisions to keep an up-to-date register of members;
  • Provisions for the roles and functions of committees;
  • How it controls/manages its finances including the keeping of financial records;
  • The members’ rights to access financial reports, AGM minutes, a register of conflicts and other information;
  • Arrangements and requirements for general meetings; and
  • Details of disciplinary processes for dealing with member conflicts.

Most, if not all Incorporated Societies constitutions will not be compliant with these requirements and will need a complete refresh.

Eugene Collins of our office has been following the Bill since the first draft several years ago and has already re-written a number of constitutions to be compliant with the new Act.

The proposed Act is not expected to change a great deal, so do not leave reviewing your constitution to the last minute. There are over 24,000 Incorporated Societies in New Zealand. Every one of them will need to review and rewrite their constitution.

If you are wanting a review of your Incorporated Society to ensure that it will be compliant with the new rules, get in contact with us and we would be more than happy to help.