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Political Greenpeace unhappy with charity win – wants more

Greenpeace is taking its fight against the now defunct-Charities Commission to the Supreme Court, despite winning its charity case in the Court of Appeal.

The environmental lobby group’s lawyer Davey Salmon is questioning two aspects of the Court of Appeal’s November ruling, including the extent to which political advocacy is allowed.

In November, Justices Rhys Harrison, Lyn Stevens and Doug White set aside the then-Charities Commission’s 2010 decision to decline the lobbyists’ charity status.

Greenpeace says whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal, the bid for charity status will still need to be reconsidered.

The Court of Appeal judges referred the Greenpeace application back to the Charities Commission’s replacement – the Department of Internal Affairs and the Charities Registration Board for reconsideration.

In its finding, the Court of Appeal said the organisation’s political advocacy needs to be “truly ancillary” to its principal charitable objectives.

The lobby group’s political involvement was central to the then-Charities Commission’s refusal to grant the application.

Back in 2010, the commission found:

  • Two of Greenpeace’s objectives – promoting “peace” and “disarmament” – were political, not charitable.
  • Greenpeace was involved in illegal activities, such as trespassing; therefore it was not maintained exclusively for charitable purposes as illegal purposes are not charitable.

In its decision, the commission also referred to a number of mission statements on the Greenpeace website, including:

  • We are actively campaigning for international disarmament.
  • We believe greater peace, greater security, greater safety is possible. Reaching out across national boundaries Greenpeace is working with citizens and political leaders around the world to make this happen.

In order to be registered as a charity an organisation must be established and maintained exclusively for charitable purposes. Political purposes are not charitable purposes.

An organisation may, however, be registered as a charity if it has a political purpose so long as the political purpose is ancillary to the charitable purposes of the organisation and is not an independent purpose.

A date has yet to be set for the Supreme Court hearing.

More by Blair Cunningham

Comments and questions

Eco-teleban / green terrorists / feral, yogurt-weaving crystal spinners - call them what you will, but charitable is what they are not.

When they encourage tresspassing and illegal activities by individuals supposedly acting on their behalf, but then hide behind the fame of a warrior princess as a shelter from the negative publicity their illegal activities and commercial sabotage they inflicted on someone else's property has caused - nope - far from charitable, indeed.

Strewth, this international corporation attempting to rip off the NZ taxpayer will have Dr Norman asking the AG for an independent inquiry as to why they need charity status? I mean, surely?

They should be charged with attempted fraud for attempting to rip off the NZ taxpayer by their attempts at a tax-free income here.

Go well, you mighty Greenpeace.

You might be pleasing the unwashed mob collective but my crowd view RedWar ... Greenpeace ... as a bunch of leftist subversives endeavouring to destroy Western civilisation by hiding their extremist views behind pictures of fluffy polar bears.

The system you are such a supporter of is doing just fine at destroying Western civilization (no help required from Greenpeace) - a few more years of market driven economics and the evidence will be pretty overwhelming to even the blind. Destroy your resource base and your environment and you can kiss goodbye to civilization. Phew isn't it getting hot and dry around here, anyone notice?

Ask Greece how socialist interventionist policies are working for them.
And the suggestion that market driven economics are causing the dry summer is brilliant....just as the climategate/windfarm/agw lies and propaganda really starts to fall apart under the weight of actual science and truth. Even Hansen is backing away from it now.
It's a faith, isn't it? Some people just don't want to hear the truth. Your climate-Allah doesn't exist and neither does your capitalism-created all-our-problems-Allah.
Go fracking!

Careful now, you will get spittle on your keyboard.

Warmist Statements Distorting Science
“The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.”

- Dr David Frame,
climate modeler, Oxford University

"I believe it is appropriate to have an 'over-representation' of the facts
on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience."

- Al Gore,
Climate Change activist

So what do the scientists say, not the bureaucratic bodies funded by government grants, not the blog parrot and not some twonk on a video but the scientists themselves?

Dr Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and UN-IPCC insider. Not a sceptic of AGW to my knowledge.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts”, he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography.

“Claims such as ‘2500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism”.


Dr Benjamin Santer, author of the 2007 IPCC report chapter on the detection of greenhouse warming -not a sceptic of AGW, to my knowledge.

"It's unfortunate that many people read the media hype before they read the (IPCC report) chapter on the detection of greenhouse warming''. I think the caveats are there. We say quite clearly that few scientists would say that the attribution issue [man-made climate change] is a done deal.


Dr Richard Lindzen (Atmospheric Scientist) Professor at MIT UN-IPCC Lead Author

“The consensus was reached before the research had even begun.

"It's not 2500 people offering their consensus, I participated in that. Each person who is an author writes one or two pages in conjunction with someone else ... but ultimately, it is written by representatives of governments, of environmental organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, and industrial organizations, each seeking their own benefit.”


Dr John Christy – Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Centre at the University of Alabama, Huntsville (also Alabama State Climatologist) UN IPCC Lead Author writes:

"I don't see a catastrophe developing from our emissions into the air of what should be correctly identified as ‘plant food.'"

“Scepticism, a hallmark of science, is frowned upon. (I suspect the IPCC bureaucracy cringes whenever I'm identified as an IPCC Lead Author}. The tendency to succumb to group-think and the herd-instinct (now formally called the "informational cascade") is perhaps as tempting among scientists as any group because we, by definition, must be the "ones who know" (from the Latin sciere, to know).”


Russia - Dr Yury Izrael, past UN IPCC Vice President, director of Global Climate and Ecology Institute, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"There is no proven link between human activity and global warming.”


USA - Dr. Charles Wax, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

“First off, there isn't a consensus among scientists. Don't let anybody tell you there is.”

.....and I suppose the earth is still flat in your little corner of the world. Time to emerge from beneath your rock, open your eyes and see what's going on around you..

Yes. Private enterprise as opposed to statist nonsense discovered many, many wonderful things.

You need to look at the frightening face underneath the green mask.

Eco-collectivist totalitarianism is not the answer Pol Pot and conflating the current weather with the ravings of people like Paul "It doesn't matter what is true only what people think is true" Watson of Greenpeace will leave your climate science credentials as tattered as arch-communuatarian and erstwhile railway engineer Raj Pachauri of the UNIPCC wing of Greenpeace activist 'peer' reviewed grey agit-prop pap/ Try harder, eco loon.

Lots of name calling going on here. Mind you, I guess if my belief system was being destroyed by events in front of my very eyes I would find it pretty unpalatable, too. I do hope the denialist camp don't go changing their mind on these issues (so their children and grandchildren get to know who to point their fingers at).

Your belief system has been destroyed - heard of Climate Gate?

I simply believe in freedom from statist terror / leftist authoritarianism gussied up as environmental concern. Freedom will never go out of fashion...much as your lot with your "deliberate quest of poverty" schtick do try.

FYI the whole denialist thing is so pathetic. No one denies climate changes. It is natural, which is why we can explain the medieval warming period. What I deny is your right to destroy the only system that has ever dragged millions of people out of poverty and given them hope. What I deny is your pseudo-mystical anti-human chippy lefty tosh.

It is a good point well made. Putting a guy from Greenpeace in charge of writing the supposedly neutral, scientifically-based UNIPCC reports on which governments are going to base their energy policy is like putting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in charge of a report entitled Whither Israel? It is, in fact, yet another scandal of Climategate proportions. But you’d be amazed how many people there are out there who still don’t quite see the broader significance of this. Sheep!

And Crowd please, it was wet and cold last year, but your memory probably doesn't stretch that far. Suggest you go and read what a fellow named Dr Patrick Moore has to say about Greenpeace. You might find it interesting. Oh, just in case you didn't know, he was one of the original founders of Greenpeace.

The Court of Appeal is wrong. Greenpeace is first and foremost a political organisation, not a charitable one.

The Court of Appeal seems to be wrong so often it's hard to understand how it survives. Greenpeace has a clear business model of scaremongering to generate donations which it then uses to achieve political objectives. Nothing whatever charitable about any of it.

The Environmental Defence Society too should lose its charitable status. The EDS is clearly a political organisation... why should they not pay tax, and why should we taxpayers fund the tax position of private donations they receive? We are already paying to fund it via the Ministry for the Environment and various local councils.

Charitable status to environmental activists is a scam and should be stopped.

Over the past few decades Greenpeace seems to have become more militant, and as a result has lost 'average' supporters and their voices of reason, moderation, restraint, respect and humility. Leaving the remaining extremists to run the show. Not too long now and they'll merge with Sea Shepherd. Traditionally pirates don't pay tax either, so by then Greenpeace will have gone full circle. A pity really. It was once a well respected organisation, but can only become so again by returning to what it was, regaining those qualities it seems to have lost, and it could legitimately be charitable again.

All Greenpeace is doing is endeavouring to protect the cash-cow millions that liberal New Zealanders cough up each year to them.

What Greenpeace is doing with their Supreme Court case is lumping more costs onto the taxpayer. And that is not a good way to generate good PR for saving dolphins.

The issue raised here is related to Greenpeace and charity status.

I question many of the activities of Greenpeace but that is not the issue here, Greenpeace is an organization dedicated to pursuing and/or promoting political or pseudo political agendas, be those agendas be right or wrong, and is therefore is not a charitable org.

Genuine charity is an 'ego less' activity for the purpose of helping others, where the act of helping is done without the need for validation of recognition on the part of the giver. An organisation can be charitable without needing to be registered as a charity. I sense the real issue here is not being charitable but tax free, and also tax free for those individuals who donate to Greenpeace.
The tax benefits for the organisation and tax benefits for the donators is paid for by all other the tax payers.

If people wish to throw endless amounts of tax paid income at Greenpeace, or any other organisation because they support the ideals, that's fine with me, but not at the expense of the taxpayer.

Totally agree Samuel. Greenpeace's current action just shows the Charities Commission got it right at the start.

And in passing, exactly what are the charities - or charitable purposes - Greenpeace alleges it is supporting?

If the Sensible Sentencing Trust was denied charitable status then so should Greenpeace, which is more political than the Maori Party.

Dr Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace:

"Beginning in the mid-1980s, Greenpeace, and much of the environmental movement, made a sharp turn to the political left and began adopting extreme agendas that abandoned science and logic in favour of emotion and sensationalism".

"Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986".

This pretty much spells out Greenpeace's status.