Family First and School Funding
Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Family First and School Funding
Monday 18th July 2022
De-registration of Family First (FF)
Three weeks ago the Supreme Court ordered FF to be de-registered. To be crystal clear, FF has NOT broken the law at any time, that was not the reason for the decision to de-register FF.
The basis for the Supreme Court decision centres around essentially two issues:-
- FF has become too political, meaning it has departed from it’s charitable purpose of “advocating for families, and speaking common sense and values on a broad range of family issues in New Zealand.” See ‘About FF’ on their website here.
- FF discriminates against all those who do not hold a traditional view of marriage.
De-registration means that the organisation is no longer a ‘registered charity’ and therefore people who donate to FF will no longer qualify for their annual 33% tax refund. FF is free to continue to operate in NZ, doing what it has always done with freedom. And according to CEO, Bob McCoskrie, that is exactly what they intend to do.
POV. I strongly disagree with this decision. In my opinion it could be argued that the decision itself is discriminatory because other registered charities have also become ‘political’ and have not or it appears will not be de-registered. For example Greenpeace, Rainbow Youth and the New Zealand Drug Foundation.
Two weeks ago I reached out to Sue Barker who is a Charity Law expert and was quoted in the media many times immediately after the decision was made public. She wrote, “Whatever might be said about the process to date, clearly the issue of whether Family First is eligible for charitable registration is capable of striking different judicial minds differently. In the writer’s view, the New Zealand legislation provides insufficient guidance as to how to determine whether a purpose is charitable, which is resulting in hundreds of thousands of taxpayer and charitable funds being spent arguing over these issues. The issue of advocacy by charities has become particularly problematic and complex since the 2014 decision of the Supreme Court in Re Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc  1 NZLR 169 (SC) (“Greenpeace SC”): interpretations of this decision have resulted in the introduction of a concept of “causes” (rather than charitable purposes), and a separate “ends, means and manner” test that may (or may not) be applied whenever advocacy is involved (see Greenpeace SC at  and )”.
Ultimately the issue centres around some legal technicalities and what the law says or doesn’t say on this matter is very important but that is an issue for another day and for lawyers to thrash out. In the meantime it is fair to conclude that this decision reflects a society and a Government that is beyond secular. It is in fact hostile to the Christian worldview. It seems to me that, by and large, respective Governments like the work that we as Christian organisations do (feed the hungry, house the homeless etc) but do not like the values and beliefs that underpin our work. And that is unfair at best, discriminatory at worst.
New School Funding Mechanism
In case you missed it. After 30 years Decile Ratings are out and an Equity Index is in. This is the basis that the Ministry of Education uses to fund State schools in NZ. Here is an explainer.
Cool Idea (1)
Over the next four weeks I will share with you an outreach idea that you might like to consider in your context.
A laundromat that is free for under-resourced folks and a loving volunteer to go with it. Check it out here.