A lobby group fighting to keep its status as a registered charity says it operates the way it always has, so it shouldn't lose its status.

Family First is appealing a decision the Charities Registration Board made to de-register it in 2013.

The group said its opposition to gay marriage was the reason Charities Services wanted to deregister it.

The Charities Registration Board said Family First's main purpose was to promote "particular points of view about family life" and the lobby group did not advance religion or education, nor promote a benefit to all New Zealanders, as the law required charities to do.


Family First said today nothing had changed since it was allowed to keep its status as a charity five years ago.

Its lawyer Peter McKenzie QC told the High Court in Wellington a review in 2010 granted continued charity status.

He said Family First operated in the same way now as it did when that decision was made.

The group was first registered as a charity in 2007.

Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said campaigns against controversial legislation including the anti-smacking law and the same-sex marriage law did not sit well with the board.

"Those say that our view is controversial in contemporary New Zealand society and therefore we don't serve a public benefit," Mr McCoskrie told Newstalk ZB.

According to the Charities Register, Family First claimed to work in the "community development, social services, promotion of volunteering" and "family/whanau" sectors.

The registration details said the group's beneficiaries included children and young people and the "general public."

Family First has also published views on social policy debates and politically-charged issues such as abortion, medical marijuana, sex education and prostitution this year.

- additional reporting Newstalk ZB