Gisborne Herald 25 February 2015
I’m a heterosexual married Kiwi male. I’m a Christian. I’m pro-life. I have children. On the political spectrum, I’m a classical Conservative. My business also sponsors events, and one of the organisations it supports is Family First.
Yet in the Charities Commission’s opinion (in their upcoming attempt to de-register Family First as a charity in the Wellington High Court in a few months), the perspectives and beliefs of 1000s of members of Family First, in terms of upholding traditional family values, are quote “controversial”, “no public benefit”, and “it is in the public interest to remove the Family First Trust”.
In 2014, after a five-year battle, Greenpeace won a Supreme Court hearing against a similar attempt by the Charities Commission to have Greenpeace deregistered as a charity, citing “political activity and lobbying” as the primary cause of the Charities Commission action against Greenpeace.
Child Poverty Action Group, Action For Children And Youth Aotearoa, Amnesty International New Zealand Inc, EPOCH, Human Rights Foundation Of Aotearoa New Zealand, Humanist Society of NZ, Agender Christchurch Inc, QSA Network Aotearoa and Rainbow Youth Incorporated are all registered with the Charities Commission, and all are involved in overt political lobbying as charities (as is their right in a free and democratic society), yet the Charities Commission isn’t targeting any of these organisations for holding the positions they do.
This action against Family First by the commission is not about controversy, public benefit, or public interest — it’s about a Government-funded quango trying to “stack the deck” within the arena of public debate in favour of the opinions of its political masters.
If the Charities Commission is successful in its ideologically leveraged endeavour against Family Firsts’ legitimate right to stand up for traditional family values, then the question must be asked — whose ideas will be next to be silenced by the Charities Commission?
STEVE TAYLOR, Auckland