Family First New Zealand has been successful in its application to be registered as a charity following the Court of Appeal overturning the High Court’s finding that Family First was not charitable.

The Court of Appeal, in a split 2-1 decision, found that Family First had a charitable purpose of advancing education on several topics (eg marriage) and that its advocacy on other topics (eg same sex marriage, abortion & euthanasia) were merely ancillary to its charitable education purpose.

The dissenting Judge in the Appeal Court thought that the advocacy role was not merely ancillary and so the organisation was not charitable due to its non-charitable purposes.

The majority decision granted registration to the organisation, after considering whether it should be referred back to Charities Services to reconsider their decision.

It remains to be seen whether the Attorney General on behalf of Charities Services will appeal the decision given the lack of agreement in the Court of Appeal.

Alan Knowsley