“Family First is challenging the highly politicised approach taken by the Charities Registration Board which is corrupting democracy and the basic right to participate in the advancement of the public good and public debate. This decision is an abuse of governmental power and shows that governmental groups are being used to enforce an ideology,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
The Board cited Family First’s traditional view of marriage being one man and one woman as one of the reasons for the deregistration. The investigation began just after the redefinition of marriage debate started last year.
“The reasons given for our deregistration and the timing of the decision, along with the decision by the Charities Registration Board to re-register the National Council of Women released in the same week that Family First were notified of their deregistration, confirms that decisions of the Charities Registration Board are highly politicised, and groups that think differently to the prevailing politically correct view will be targeted in an attempt to shut them up.”
“The Board decisions seem to suggest that disarmament and the promotion of gender equality and the status of women are charitable, but Family First’s promotion of traditional marriage, the role of parental discipline and the sexualisation of children, amongst other issues, is not in the public interest.”
“The Board says that research of other charities promotes their message. But in our case, the Board has labeled the research ‘propaganda or indoctrination’,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“That is a very dangerous basis to argue the definition of ‘charity’ because that means that if you are educating or researching on issues contrary to the view of the government, it will be argued that what you are doing is not for the ‘public good’,” warns Mr McCoskrie. “That is why our view on marriage has been a key factor in our deregistration.”
The Board has also argued that any lobbying or submissions done by certain other charities is deemed not ‘political’ but rather ‘a means by which they advance their charitable purposes’ – the complete opposite measure than that which they applied to Family First NZ.
“We are still awaiting a response to our Official Information Act request questioning who has complained about our status, why they delayed the notification to us until after the same-sex marriage debate was complete, and what other groups from the other side of the debates are being investigated,” says Mr McCoskrie. “This was requested under urgency, but the Board seems to be dragging their feet.”