One Complainant Results in Deregistration of Charity

Media Release 27 May 2013
Official documents received by Family First NZ show that just one complaint was made against Family First and was lodged on the day that the organisation presented a petition to Parliament on behalf of almost 50,000 kiwis calling on politicians to reject the bill to redefine marriage.

On the 28 August 2012, the day before the 1st Reading of the same-sex marriage bill, one complainant contacted the Charities Commission and laid a complaint against Family First saying:

“That they are a religious based pressure group whose wole (sic) purpose seems to be the prevention of human rights to non hetrosexual (sic) people. I don’t see how the state should be supporting such an organisation by providing tax free status. EG, like Greenpeace.”

This one complaint resulted in the Commission undertaking a massive investigation which ultimately resulted in Family First being deregistered – a decision which is now being challenged in the High Court.

The Commission has also admitted that only one charity who has been on the opposing side of the debates that Family First has been part of has been investigated – the Child Poverty Action Group which was investigated in 2010 and continues to qualify for registration, despite their obvious political advocacy.

Other groups that Family First enquired about included Action For Children And Youth Aotearoa, Amnesty International New Zealand Inc, EPOCH, Human Rights Foundation Of Aotearoa New Zealand, Humanist Society of NZ, Agender Christchurch Inc, QSA Network Aotearoa, and Rainbow Youth Incorporated. None of these groups have been investigated. Investigations can be initiated by the Commission itself.

“Family First is challenging the ‘bullying’ approach taken by the Charities Registration Board which is an abuse of governmental power,” 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 Charities Registration Board should be consistent – but it’s quite evident that it’s not, and is using isolated complaints by disgruntled people to muzzle groups who challenge the prevailing politically correct view,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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