There’s charity and there’s lobbying

Family First is unhappy it has lost its charitable status which means donations to it won’t be tax deductible.

The Charities Registration Board has ruled that Family First’s main purpose is political, rather than charitable, and that it will lose its charitable status unless it appeals to the High Court by May 27.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the organisation was being penalised for its leading role in the campaign against legalising gay marriage, which was passed by Parliament on April 17. . . .

I don’t think that’s the case. Greenpeace lost its charitable status for the same reason – its primary focus is political.

But I do think there is a question over why some groups qualify and some don’t:

Deemed to be charitable
Amnesty International
Child Poverty Action Group
National Council of Women
Society for Promotion of Community Standards

Deemed to be political
Family First
NZ Council for Civil Liberties
Save Our Arts Centre Society (Christchurch)
Sensible Sentencing Trust

There’s little difference in what the public see of the Child Poverty Action Group and Family First.

Both appear to put most if not all of their efforts into lobbying and advocacy which is by its nature is political.

Political parties can’t get charitable status and nor should political lobby groups.

They will still be free to lobby on behalf of their supporters but they’ll be doing it without support from the public purse by way of tax deductions on donations.


2 Responses to There’s charity and there’s lobbying

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m not sure if this is a reason or not, but if a major platform for an organisation is contrary to the laws of the land, would this be a barrier to charity status?

    In the case of the Child Poverty Action Group there is nothing in their mission that could be taken as purely political or contrary to law:

    “Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is an independent charity working to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand through research, education and advocacy.

    In a country like New Zealand, with ample resources, child poverty could be eliminated completely. Its all about Choice.

    Everyone agrees children need the right conditions to grow into healthly adults. Children thrive when they have the basics: nutritious food; a warm, safe home; medical attention if they are sick and a good education. Sadly, too many children in New Zealand don’t have the basics.

    We speak out on behalf of the 230,000 children in New Zealand whoses meagre standard of living compromises their health, education and well-being

    CPAG works to protect children from needless poverty, because a child’s potential is a terrible thing to waste.”

    Where as Family First actively supports a view that is contrary to the new law:

  2. Andrei says:

    Anything can be defined as “political” if that is what takes your fancy.

    In this case the amount of money is trivial but the gesture is symbolic in the extreme and it says loud and clear that if you are people like us, who devote their lives and wealth to raising the next generation you can go f yourself and that this country is being run for airhead celebrity media celebrities who want to abandon their husbands and children because apparently their life can only be fulfilled by having sex with another woman and having this blessed by the STATE.

    Beneath Contempt

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