Trust pulls pin

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Queenstown’s housing trust has pulled out of a court battle to prove it’s a charity.

The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, which provides accommodation for locals struggling to stay in the district, has fought for charitable status for many years.

It claims it misses out on large amounts of funding from community organisations which only give grants or donations to registered charities.

Deregistered as a charity in 2010, it reapplied to the Charities Registration Board in 2015.

In its decision, the board conceded some of the trust’s rental programmes “may enhance charitable purposes”.

But it said its shared home ownership model confers “significant private benefits on individuals”.

And its purposes weren’t directed towards relieving poverty.

The trust was set to appeal that decision in the High Court last month.

However trust chairman Stephen Brent confirms to Scene the appeal has been withdrawn.

“We decided, given the uncertainty and cost involved in litigation, not to go down that route.”

Last December, Brent told the only housing trust in New Zealand that’s not charitable”.

He argued the trust’s a charity because anything it makes is ploughed back into the com-munity.

And in the Queenstown context, of sky-high property and rental prices, he said it was relieving “poverty”.

“Our goal is to help the people that are the glue in this town – the teachers, the nurses, police people, all those people that you need for a community to survive and prosper.”