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A new law enabling a more flexible and modern governance of the property owned by the 44 Christian Churches of New Zealand was passed this evening with unanimous support from Parliament.

“This new law replaces the Associated Churches of Christ Church Property Act 1929 and provides the new trust with broader powers in managing the millions of dollars of property owned collectively by the 44 churches across New Zealand,” Dr Smith says.

“This new law is about securing a strong future for a group of churches that have a rich history of 172 years. It will enable the Church Property Trust to use its assets more flexibly to ensure its church facilities and services maintain the needs of a changing population.

“I have personally witnessed the work of the five Nelson-associated churches from Unite in Nelson City, Annesbrook in Stoke, the Church of Christ in Richmond, the Alive Church of Christ in Motueka and the Church of Christ in Takaka. They do a power of good work with youth, helping families in need and supporting grieving loved ones at a time of loss. These are also churches that outreach and provide services to the wider community. It has been a privilege to work with the senior leaders nationally to draft, introduce, and pass this Bill and I particularly want to express my thanks for the work of Mr Viesturs Altments for his part in securing this law change.”

Dr Smith sponsored the Bill through Parliament because the Christian Church movement started in Nelson in 1844 and because of the number and strength of the local churches in his constituency. The Bill passed its third reading and takes legal effect when signed by the Governor-General.

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