Media Release 23 Aug 2017
Family First NZ says that the Prime Minister Bill English at their recent Forum on the Family in July has challenged the basis of the Charities Board’s intent to deregister Family First.
In response to a question by National Director Bob McCoskrie: “For some reason (the Charities Board are) gunning for us because we believe things like marriage is one man one woman. Do you think that is right?”, the Prime Minister responded:
“Well if they were gunning for you on that basis, then the people doing that would of course have to be removed from the public service because the law is not anything to do with what the advocacy is…”
Family First has instructed its lawyer to file an immediate Notice of Appeal in the Wellington High Court against the Charities Board’s formal decision to deregister Family First NZ because our views about marriage and the traditional family “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable”.
Mr English went on to say;
“You’ve come up against this legal argument as I understand it about advocacy versus actual good works and the charitable definition is focused around good works… Until or unless that law changes, then the people overseeing it have to administer it without fear or favour or any colour to the political argument, the political position that people take… What makes our political world work is people who take views and push them, and push us around, and make us take positions, and make us talk about funding or about regulation of pornography, or whatever… or push us hard on the environment as happens as well. Until the law changes, that’s how it is…”
Justice Collins in the earlier decision in the Wellington High Court in 2015 recognised the strength of Family First’s argument that its advocacy for the concept “…of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that have advocated for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society.…”. The Charities Board was also scolded by Justice Collins who said “…Members of the Charities Board may personally disagree with the views of Family First, but at the same time recognise there is a legitimate analogy between its role and those organisations that have been recognised as charities.”
“Contrary to media reports, Family First has not been ‘stripped’ of our charitable status. The deregistration is not effective until 18 September, but under the Charities Act 2005, we can lodge an Appeal with the Registrar of the High Court. And that’s exactly where we’re heading. This is simply a repeat of 2015 when the Charities Board failed to have us deregistered,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Family First’s stated purposes are clearly charitable. They are confusing the distinction between purposes and activities and seem to be straining to find a basis to deregister Family First – the net effect of their whole approach is just to waste limited charitable and government resources involving taxpayer money.”