Family First stripped of charity status

Newstalk ZB report:

Family First no longer a charity

Disappointment from the Family First group, following news it’s about to have its charitable status taken away.

Family First says the commission is listing the group’s view of one-man, one-woman marriage as a reason for de-registering it.

The group’s national director Bob McCoskrie says it seems almost illegal to hold a viewpoint.

“Whichever side of the fence you’re on in any debate should be concerned that Charities Commission deems it to be uncharitable to speak up for a public interest issue.”

Family First doesn’t say what other reasons have been given, but they seem to have become more of a political campaign organisation than a charity. From their web page:

They also say:

Registered Charity
Our Charity Registration number is: CC10094. For further details, please click here for link to Charities Commission website.

That link doesn’t work, I don’t know if that’s due to the de-registering (it is reported to take effect from 27th May) or if it was a bad link.

The Charities Commission on Charitable purpose:

Charitable purpose has a special meaning in law. We use examples to illustrate the treatment of charitable purpose under the Charities Act.

Section 5(1) of the Charities Act 2005 says that “charitable purpose” “…includes every charitable purpose, whether it relates to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community.” The law surrounding charitable purposes is 400 years old. It has been developed over time mainly by judges’ decisions in court cases.

“Charitable purpose” has a special meaning in law. It may include some purposes the public would not consider to be charitable and it may exclude other purposes the public would consider to be charitable. We will compare the purposes and activities set out in your rules or governing document and the activities listed in your application form against the meaning of “charitable purpose” in section 5(1) of the Charities Act.

How will we know whether our organisation has a “charitable purpose”?

We assess each application we receive on a case-by-case basis, with reference to decisions made in earlier court cases, to decide whether the organisation applying has a “charitable purpose”.

In order for a purpose to be charitable, it must —

  • fall within one of the four charitable purposes set out in section 5(1) of the Charities Act and
  • provide a public benefit and
  • not be aimed at creating private financial profit.

In some cases, a specific Act of Parliament will state that the purposes of a particular organisation are charitable. See more in depth examples

Family First – ‘About Us’ :

“New Zealanders need a voice that can research and advocate for strong families and safe communities, which is why we started Family First.”

Family First will:

  • be a voice for the family in the media speaking up about issues relating to families that are in the public domain
  • promote and advance research and policy supporting marriage and family as foundational to a strong and enduring society
  • participate in social analysis and debate surrounding issues relating to and affecting the family being promoted by academics, policy makers, social service organisations and media, and to network with other like-minded groups and academics
  • produce and publish relevant and stimulating material in newspapers, magazines, and other media relating to issues affecting families
  • speak from a family friendly perspective with an emphasis on the Judeo-Christian values which have benefited New Zealand for generations.



  1. Brown

     /  May 6, 2013

    Piffle. Nothing has changed in the FF expressed position or what they do. Its simply because they expressed opinions against gay marriage. Some religious denominations or parts within them did as well. What’s next – the gay “intolerant” factions within the religious community?

    • It does appear as if a major party of what Family First is doing is political campaigning. I think that disqualifies them from being a charity.

      It’s not stopping them expressing their opinions, it’s a reality check on their main intent as an organisation.

  2. Quentin Todd

     /  May 6, 2013

    The legal definition of “Charity” has British origins for sure. Its intention is to focus squarely on the “needs of community” outside the political spectrum.

    In the US the idea of “Charity” has a wider definition – “Not-For-Profit Organisation. the latter word is emphasised . This is because it gives a political entity right for funding applications. I believe this is one of the reasons why the law here might need a little attention.

    It would be better for FF to redo their Vision Statement and Constitution in the framework of a ‘Think Tank’… not a Charity.

  3. Piffle. Nothing has changed in the FF expressed position or what they do. Its simply because they expressed opinions against gay marriage.

    And you can, of course prove this, can’t you? Oh, you can’t. What a surprise.

    McCroskies’ “charity” is an advocacy body, nothing more, nothing less; it does not do any thing charitable, therefore it is ineligible to be registered.

    Time McCroskie got a real job and paid his own way in the world.

    • Brown

       /  May 6, 2013

      No I can’t prove anything but the timing is convenient. McCroskie addressed advocacy, and everyone does that to some degree, in that the FF views exist and become political because politicians made something political. I think there’s merit in that view but accept it makes the issue messy as the posts get shuffled about over time. If govt can select what charities are in fact charities on a political whim (which may not be the case here of course) the answer is to simple – get rid of charities and have a level playing field. People can simply pay for the causes they like without subsidy.

  4. No I can’t prove anything but the timing is convenient.

    So, no proof, but you blather on as if you are sole possessor of The Truth in this matter.

    I love the smell of paranoia as christian privilege is wound back.

  5. Brown

     /  May 6, 2013

    And what privilege is that LRO? I don’t claim rebates because I think its inappropriate for taxpayers to subsidise my charitable giving. As I said, remove all charity privileges – doesn’t bother me at all.

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