Churches_BNessay_0001_Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 12.15.56 PM

TelevisionJanuary 13, 2021

Alice Snedden’s Bad News: How come churches don’t have to pay any tax?

Churches_BNessay_0001_Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 12.15.56 PM

Summer reissue: In the fourth episode of Alice Snedden’s Bad News, Alice makes some inquiries upstairs about the charitable status of churches after finding out the makers of Weet-Bix have an exemption from paying tax.

First published August 20, 2020.

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New Zealand is a secular society, but “advancement of religion” is still one of the main things that define a charity. That charitable status means that churches – even the big rich ones – don’t have to pay any tax. And that exemption also extends to breakfast cereal tycoons Sanitarium, which is an arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Does that seem right? Why is “advancement of religion” still considered a cornerstone of charity? And is it true what they say about Kellogg’s and masturbating? Joined by comedian Eli Mathewson and a giant pile of Weet-Bix, Alice tries to take a charitable view as she hears different perspectives on the issue. Head of the Interchurch Bureau Chris Bethwaite argues the case for churches as a social service, and lets Alice have a go on the church drum kit. Meanwhile, tax advisor Andrea Black explains the origins of the exemption and whether or not it’s still relevant today.

Commissioned by RNZ and made possible by the RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund.

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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