Incorporated Societies Act updated for first time since 1908

Commerce and Consumer Affairs
  • Listing the matters that must be included in a society’s constitution (including internal dispute resolution procedures)
  • Clearly setting out officers’ duties (derived from case law)
  • Prescribing External Reporting Board (XRB) accounting standards for larger societies’ financial reporting
  • Sets out other dispute resolution and judicial review mechanisms available to members of societies and creates sector-specific offences

The rules which govern New Zealand’s incorporated societies will be refreshed for the first time in 114 years.

The Incorporated Societies Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today, which modernises the way societies deal with internal disputes, clarifies officers’ duties and prescribes accounting standards for larger entities.

“New Zealand’s incorporated societies play a vital and often long-standing role in our communities - speaking up for workers, teaching our children sports, and raising money for good causes. It’s important that the law governing them reflects best-practice,” Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said. 

This is the first time the Incorporated Societies Act has had its legal, governance and accountability settings updated since 1908.

“The Bill keeps the best of the 1908 Act, while also collating useful case law in one place and filling in gaps where the rules are unclear.

“Today marks the conclusion of 12 years hard work by officials and successive governments to modernise this Act. I also want to acknowledge the input of the sector and the members of the public during the various stages of consultation,” David Clark said.

The Bill provides for a period of up to 18 months for the necessary regulations to be prepared and consulted on, before the new regime will enter into force. More information will be available on the Incorporated Societies Register website in due course.