The Humanist Society of New Zealand (Incorporated) [“HSNZ”] incorporated in 1967, was registered as a charity with the Charities Commission on 30 June 2008 (Charity No. CC36074).
Its 2010 and 2011 financial statements available on the Commission’s website, reveal that this lobby group – noted for its “perpetual advocacy” of humanism – received $24,895 in donations between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2011, money solicited from the public to specifically fund its “NZ Atheist Bus Campaign”.
Only 56% ($13,948) of the donations received over this period were spent on the advertising campaign and no transparent explanation appears to be provided in the financial accounts as to how the remaining surplus ($10,947) was used.
Most of the surplus appears to have been absorbed in what has been labeled cutely, if not disingenuously, as an “investment loss” of $5,657 in 2010 and $716 in 2011 (total $6,373) – caused by the NZ bus company’s refusal to carry HSNZ pro-atheism ‘advertising’.
The bus company’s officials considered the HSNZ controversial advertising signs potentially offensive despite claims to the contrary by HSNZ that they were “friendly” and “innocuous”. NZ Bus officials took the view that the signs might negatively impact on their business and/or infringe advertising standards.
On 1 July 2010 the “NZ Atheist Bus Campaign” website (www.nogod.org.nz) announced that all donations received after that date would now be used for the transportation and installation of fixed billboards in cities around New Zealand. “Tax-refundable donations” were called for via the website and the “Givealittle Service” website “for more billboards with atheist slogans across all New Zealand.”
These billboards contained the same “innocuous” and “friendly” message intended initially for the exterior of buses, namely:
“There is probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy yourself”. [Read more…]