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August 06, 2014

New Zealand Court Says Greenpeace Can Seek Charity Status

New Zealand's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Greenpeace has a right to register as a charity in the country, ending a lengthy regulatory and judicial battle over the environmental activist group's status, The New Zealand Herald reports.

Rejecting prior rulings and a 2010 decision by the country's then-Charities Commission, the court said engaging in some political advocacy does not disqualify an organization from nonprofit status. The commission, now known as the Charities Board, had said Greenpeace's promotion of nuclear disarmament and its potentially illegal protest actions were not charitable in nature.

The organization can now apply to the charity regulator for reconsideration. Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace New Zealand's executive director, said that with Wednesday's ruling "the Supreme Court has now recognized that trying to change our world for the better, and taking on government to do that, is a public good."