30 Apr 2018

Family First goes to court in hopes of regaining charity status

3:02 pm on 30 April 2018

Advocacy group Family First is heading to court today in a bid to retain its charity status.

family first logo

family first logo Photo: supplied

The hearing at the High Court in Wellington is the second appeal after the Charities Board ruled in 2013 and again in 2017 that Family First be removed from the charities register.

Organisations with charitable status do not pay income tax, can apply for different grants and their donors are eligible for rebates.

In 2013 the Charities Board removed the group because it said it was engaged in political advocacy.

After the first appeal, the High Court ordered the board to reconsider its decision, which it did in 2017, again concluding the group should be removed.

But Family First said the board was wrong to say its purpose was political rather than charitable.

In a similar case involving Greenpeace, the Supreme Court ruled groups could register as charities, even if they have a political purpose.

In its submission, Family First said the Charities Board did not consider promotion of the traditional family as being in the public interest.

But Family First said that was not the case.

In recent times it had advocated on strengthening marriage, parenting, child abuse, aged care and sex education; and against abortion, euthanasia and embyronic cell research, it said.

"These activities for advancing the family in New Zealand serve to strengthen family life, and encourage stability and positive values in society."

Family First said the total number of supporters who subscribed to its email or mail service this year amounted to nearly 46,000, which was 5215 more than the previous year.