Appeal Court confirms Family First is a charity


Family First New Zealand has won a battle over its charity status.

In a decision released on Thursday morning, the Court of Appeal set aside a Charities Registration Board decision in 2017 to deregister Family First as a charity.

“This decision is a win for the freedom of speech and belief in New Zealand,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First New Zealand.

“The attempt by the Charities Board to deregister Family First would have been a watershed, not just for Family First, but for the whole country,”  McCoskrie said.

“Family First appealed this decision because of the threat it placed on us and other charities and our collective freedom to speak on behalf of our supporters in a civil society,” he said.

“An overly restrictive or narrow view of what is in the public benefit is likely to be of concern to all charities, many of which have a certain emphasis or point of view.”

During the appeal, Family First New Zealand’s lawyer, Peter McKenzie QC, said the organisation had a “purpose of advancing education or a purpose” which was for the public benefit.

“Family First’s activities directed towards promoting life are closely related to the welfare of the family and should be understood as being merely ancillary to its charitable purpose of promoting the family,” McKenzie said.

The organisation’s activities “serve to strengthen family life, encourage stability and promote values in society, arguing all purposes are of benefit to the community and should be regarded as charitable by analogy to the mental and moral improvement cases.”

Through a lawyer, the Attorney-General argued Family First had not established its principal purpose – advocacy on behalf of the “traditional family” was a public benefit or “sufficiently analogous to any purpose previously accepted as charitable.”


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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