Media Release 27 August 2020
Family First NZ has won their appeal in the Wellington Court of Appeal against deregistration from the Charities Register.
“This decision is a win for the freedom of speech and belief in 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,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
In the High Court in Wellington in 2018, the court judgment held that Family First’s “…core purpose of promoting the traditional family unit cannot be shown to be in the public benefit in the charitable sense under the Act.” Family First did not accept the High Court’s analysis or its conclusions and appealed to the Court of Appeal.
“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.”
“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. The importance of freedom of expression and open debate in a civil society are ideals every New Zealander should be defending,” says Mr McCoskrie.
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
A The appeal is allowed.
B The decision of the Charities Registration Board dated 21 August 2017 to remove Family First New Zealand from the Charities Register is set aside.
C There is a declaration that Family First New Zealand qualifies for registration under the Charities Act 2005.