Now that New Zealand has overwhelmingly passed the marriage equality bill, Family First NZ, the bill’s primary opponent, is losing its charity status. Gay Star News reports:
The Charities Commission, which is run by the Department of Internal Affairs to monitor the nearly 25,000 charities in New Zealand, demands that organizations that register with them must have ‘public benefit’. ‘Benefit to the public should be capable of being identified and defined,’ reads a statement explaining ‘public benefit’ on the Charity Commission’s website. ‘It is also important to note that perceptions of public benefit can change over time, influenced by increasing knowledge and understanding, changes in social and economic conditions, and changes in social values.’
Predictably, the group is furious, claiming that the government is trying to silence their voices:
National director Boc McCoskrie said the Charities Commission has contacted him to say it intends to deregister his organization. He believes the decision is ‘highly politicized’. ‘[This is] grim evidence that groups that think differently to the prevailing politically correct view will be targeted in an attempt to shut them up,’ McCoskrie said.
What I don’t understand is how these kinds of groups were ever considered charities in the first place. To me, a charity is an organization that works with people in need – a food bank, a foundation that works to end diseases or hunger, a group that build houses in places that need to help. How is a group whose sole purpose is political a charity? It always seemed to me like a convenient way to dodge taxes for these groups.