Media Release 13 October 2020
The government should recognise that the family does not exist for society or the state, but society and the state exist for the family.
It should be of great concern to all New Zealand families that the government is seeking to suppress Family First’s outstanding advocacy for the traditional family and its opposition to abortion and euthanasia.
The Attorney General, (the Hon. David Parker, pictured), acting for the government, has appealed to the Supreme Court against the recent decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold its charity status withdrawn by the Charities Commission and upheld by the High Court in August 2018.
The traditional family is one of the three pillars of authority outside the state, along with the Church and civic organisations, to defend human rights and democracy.
Right to Life believes that this appeal to the Supreme Court is not just about the charity status of Family First but about the government’s perception of the traditional family as being a threat to the government and to society. The government is opposed to the advocacy of Family First for the traditional family and its opposition to abortion and euthanasia.
In 2018 Right to Life requested the Prime Minister under the Official Information Act,”do you have policies that recognise that the promotion of marriage as exclusively of one man and one woman as the source of the next generation and the foundation of a healthy society?” The reply from the office of the Prime Minister was to refuse the request as there were no such policies.
This case exposes and highlights the government’s rejection of the traditional family of exclusively one man and one woman as being of public benefit. The Attorney General’s submission to the Court of Appeal argued that:-
“Family First’s contention that its activities benefit all forms of families cannot be sustained on the evidence. He submits that Family First has not established that its principal purpose, advocacy on behalf of the traditional family, is of public benefit or is sufficiently analogous to any purpose previously accepted as charitable.”
Counsel for the Charities Board submitted that the, “Trust’s main purpose is to promote points of view about family life, the promotion of which is a political purpose because the points of view do not have a public benefit that is self-evident as a matter of law.”
Key Statements from the Court of Appeal Judgement, which is now being appealed by the Charities Board :-
Para 73: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other similar instruments, affirm a right to family life. That provides considerable support for the proposition that Family First’s support of, education about, and advocacy for, the family and its related institution of marriage may, other things being equal, be charitable.”
Para 92: “[As] Paul Rishworth QC has observed: “Our political systems depend upon our deliberating as a community. Our understanding of the world comes by seeking information and transmitting it to others.”Para 109: “
An examination of this material, set in the context of advancement of education and research, shows Family First’s clear purpose of stimulating a public debate and participating in public discourse on important social issues relevant to families.”
Para 122: “Such research is valuable in promoting public knowledge about marriage and families and the many issues that affect the family. Public discussion and debate about such important issues is desirable to encourage the development of related policies and laws.”
Para 164/165: “We consider Family First’s engagement in the deliberations of the community on issues such as abortion, assisted death, anti-smacking laws, prostitution reform and censorship is properly characterised as part of its broader purpose of supporting marriage and family as being foundational to a strong and enduring society. Any attempt to label such engagement generally as cause advocacy of a political nature is not helpful.”
In fact, society “has a vested interest in supporting marriage as the surest basis for family life,” the statement affirms. It says, “Politicians of all parties should recognize and support marriage as a key building block of a stable society.” For, “marriage brings considerable and measurable benefits to individuals, children, family life and society.”
Right to Life
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