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09 October 2023

Change is on the horizon for Incorporated Societies

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In April 2022, the Government passed the new Incorporated Societies Act 2022. This is a well-due update to the 1908 Act of the same name and aims to modernise the rules and regulations around Societies. It does this in several ways:

  1. Requiring all societies to have a Constitution.  The Act specifies a number of matters that a Constitution must contain, including an adequate dispute resolution mechanism.

  2. Introducing new financial reporting requirements, including the concept of a “small society”.  Societies may be required to audit their accounts, depending on the amount of assets, income, or turnover they have in a financial year.

  3. Clarifying the obligations and duties of “officers” of societies. Anyone who carries out a governance function in the society, whether elected to a board, or employed directly as a manager, will have additional statutory obligations. These mirror the duties of Company Directors found under the Companies Act 1993.  You can find more information about Directors Duties here.

 Specific criminal offences have also been added to give the new Act some teeth. These offences target egregious conduct, such as the making of false statements, fraudulent use of property, or improperly using “Incorporated” or the Te Reo version, Manatōpu. 

New Regulations have come into force from October 2023. These regulations provide more specificity about how the Act will operate in practice, as well as the timeframes for complying with the new Act. 

You will need to ensure that your society complies with the new legislation before re-registering. Now is the time to ensure that your society is prepared for the new Act.

We encourage all societies to review their Constitution, as it is likely that a number of amendments will be required. 

Our lawyers regularly act for many societies, from local sports clubs to larger commercial entities. Contact us today to see how we can help your Society.


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