Warning from Cultwatch to investigate Church of Scientology before joining- granted tax-exempt status by IRD

A Christian group is outraged a controversial church has been granted charity status by Inland Revenue.

The Church of Scientology is now recognised as a charitable religious organisation, making it tax exempt.

Cultwatch spokesman Mark Vrankovich warns people to be wary of Scientology.

He says closer examination of the religion sheds light on why it took so long to get charity status.

He likens Scientology to a cult, where followers pay money to advance through the levels of the religion.

Mr Vrankovich says people need to thoroughly research what religious groups stand for, before joining.