The Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (the “new Act”) recently received Royal Assent, resulting in significant changes for the 24,000 incorporated societies in New Zealand. The new Act replaces the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (the “old Act”), which has been long overdue for an upgrade. We have discussed ten key changes for incorporated societies to be aware of in our article here and provided a lot of detailed information in the form of articles and seminars here. Contact us for a copy of our comprehensive handbook.
All incorporated societies will be required to reregister under the new Act, so it is a chance to revisit all aspects of these organisations. Section 26 of the new Act sets out what a society’s constitution must contain. This is important as the society’s constitution must comply with the new Act in order to reregister. We have detailed notes on the reregistration process here and are helping many comply with the requirements.
In a series of six articles we have set out the key requirements for your society’s updated constitution, as prescribed by section 26 of the new Act. This article will discuss what your constitution needs to provide in relation to governance.
Similar to the old Act, the new Act requires the society’s constitution to include its name. The new Act also explains the Registrar must refuse to incorporate a society under a particular name in the circumstances set out in section 11 of the new Act, such as:
- The use of the name would contravene legislation;
- the name is identical or almost identical to the name of another society, company or body corporate; or
- where the name does not include the word “Incorporated”, “Inc”, or “Manatōpū” (or 2 or more of those words) as the last word or words of the name.
The new Act requires the society’s constitution to include its purposes, which is similar to the requirements of the old Act. Under section 12 of the new Act, the Registrar must refuse to incorporate a society if its purposes include an unlawful purpose or a purpose of carrying on the society for the financial gain of any of its members.
We think having purpose clearly set out is a good idea and discuss that a lot more over here.
Control and management of finances
Similar to the old Act, the new Act requires the constitution to provide for how the society will control and manage its finances.
The new Act expands on the old Act, setting out particular requirements for the distribution of the society’s property on liquidation. The society’s constitution must nominate a not-for-profit entity, or a class or description of not-for-profit entities, to which any of the society’s surplus assets should be distributed on liquidation or removal from the register. Under section 216 of the new Act, the surplus is the remaining assets of the society after all of the costs, debts and liabilities have been paid. Section 216 also sets out what happens where more than one not-for-profit entity has been nominated in the society’s constitution. Section 5(3) of the new Act defines a not-for-profit entity and subpart 5 of part 5 sets out other matters relating to the removal or liquidation of a society.
With the new Act comes a lot of changes to the requirements for an incorporated society’s constitution. We have helped many incorporated societies over the years and would be happy to discuss your situation with you, especially when it comes to amending your society’s constitution so it meets the requirements set out in the new Act. You can contact us any time by email or phone.
We have a lot more resources at this page dedicated to the Incorporated Societies Act 2022.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should consult your lawyer about your specific situation. Please feel free to contact us at Parry Field Lawyers:
- Steven Moe, Partner – email@example.com
- Yang Su, Senior Solicitor – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Michael Belay, Solicitor – email@example.com
- Sophie Tremewan, Solicitor – firstname.lastname@example.org
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