5 Oct 2021

Covid-19 lockdown protest: Destiny Church leader Tamaki to face charges

8:48 pm on 5 October 2021

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki has said tonight police told him he will be charged in relation to organising the mass gathering event at the Auckland Domain on Saturday.

Brian and Hannah Tamaki have launched the Coalition New Zealand party.

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Tamaki will appear on charges which relate to breaching the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and the alert level 3 order.

In a statement emailed to media tonight, Tamaki said, "Today I had a visit from two officers from the New Zealand Police at my home informing me that I was to be charged with two offences.

"I intend to defend these charges as I believe what took place, including my involvement, was lawful, peaceful and consistent with everyone's right to freedom of protest."

Tamaki said he worked collaboratively with the police on Saturday and no issues were raised that day.

In announcing the charges this afternoon, Acting Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Shanan Gray said that the gathering of around 1000 people was in breach of level 3 restrictions, which limit gatherings to weddings, funerals and tangihanga with no more than 10 people.

"The investigation phase is continuing as police consider further charges or enforcement action against others involved in the event," he said in a statement.

Police recognised that the event was frustrating for people and their response on the day was based "on operational assessments as is usual for an event of that size".

Police put community safety first when considering their response, Superintendent Gray said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are among those who have criticised Tamaki and the organisers of the event.