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Why Greenpeace is not a charitable organisation

New Zealand taxpayers are right to question whether they should subsidise Greenpeace, one of the group's founders says.

Canadian ecologist Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace International director who helped found and lead the group, says it appears Greenpeace's major aim these days is to confuse the public about the nature of the environment and the place of humans in it "by spreading falsehoods and innuendo".

"Since I left Greenpeace, its members, and the majority of the movement, have adopted policy after policy that reflects their anti-human bias, illustrates their rejection of science and technology and actually increases the risk of harm to people and the environment," he says.

Dr Moore's comments, in today's National Business Review Print edition, follow a Court of Appeal decision allowing Greenpeace to challenge a decision to refuse it charity status.

Meanwhile, NBR economics editor Rob Hosking explodes the manufacturing crisis myth with an unexpectedly good manufacturing output result.

He reports while manufacturing output is yet to return to pre-GFC levels it has been gradually improving since mid-2009. 

Given the time of year, the Shoeshine column hands out its annual awards including the Ross Taylor trophy for Biggest Scapegoat and the Harry Flashman Yellow Ribbon for Corporate Spinelessness.

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Comments and questions

What happened in this article? The last three paragraghs have gone off on some completely unrelated tangent and have nothing to do with the topic.

This whole charities issue regarding Greenpeace is interesting insofar as they are hung by their own success as political activists and the organisation's ridiculous attempt to now sanitise their image is but a joke. The other glaring case in New Zealand (and Australia) is Sanitarium. If it hadn't been for their stupidity in taking a sledgehammer to a couple of fleas over a Marmite squabble the public would never have realised the hypocrisy that Sanitarium is a simple charity rather than a mega-bullying trading corporation hell bent on dodging tax under the guise of a church.

Greenpeace is so a charity. It fights for a cause and isn't trying to profit for profit's sake.

Meanwhile, Sanatarium, etc,make a mockery of the situation.

I'm not sure you understand what it means to be a charity. Organisations which exist primarily to achieve political ends are not charities, even if they make no profits.

It's about time Greenpeace was served a bit of their own medicine. They have abused and attacked New Zealand businesses for some spurious claim, all under the guise of trying to illicit donations from New Zealanders' made to feel guilty about not doing enough to save the planet.

It really will be a complete travesty if Internal Affairs / Charities Board grants this group charitable status.

No they haven't. They've put themselves between anyone who thinks their business is more important than the planet.

Spurious claim? Like, "pollution is bad". "Fish are good."

Political activistism is not now and has never been a charitable object. This is why SPUC and HART don't have charitable status either. Nothing special about GreenPeace not getting it.

I guess attacking the messenger is one way of dealing with bad news.

If it's good enough for people who have imaginary friends to be a charity, I don't see a problem with an organisation that is trying to do something about the trashing of our planet as worthy. At least they deal with reality and not some kind of psychotic condition.

Did you even read the article??


Exactly. What I think is more problematic for Greenpeace is the potential government classification as a terrorist organisation. It's ironic, because they're the least terrifying people on earth, unless you're doing something stupid like polluting it.

But they do knowingly trespass and infringe on *legitimate* businesses' ability to do their thing. Trouble is, just because a business is legitimate, doesn't mean it should be.

And so, to stop filthy businesses and governments polluting their nuts off, I will gladly give Greenpeace money, whether it's tax deductable or not. That way, we can all enjoy living in a nicer place.

No need to thank me. Just doing what any sane person would.

Scary to think that people as delusional as yourself roam amongst us proselytising Gaia and raving about "filthy business". What do you do with all your waste, human, domestic or incidental? Hope your nose is squeaky clean before it goes poking around in other people's business.

So you are saying they are justified in doing anything they like for the "cause". Sounds pretty much like any standard terrorist organisation to me.

May I ask if any of the commentators have read the judgment before contributing to this debate? I have not, but will be doing so prior to writing a commentary on the case in conjunction with a colleague.

There is no reason why Greenpeace cannot have a charitable arm that is focussed on education and public benefit, while also having a separate politically active arm that is not income tax exempt and donations do not benefit from donee status. The public can then decide which to support, if not both.

Inidentally caims for tax credits are now an average of $198 million a year, up from an average of $98 million a year before the cap of $1890 was lifted in the 2007 Budget.

Would you also please identify yourselves by name, as I have done?

Dr Michael Gousmett PhD