I’ve been thinking about that 23 day protest at Parliament earlier this year, in the light of the Stuff Circuit ‘Fire and Fury’ documentary (highly recommended) and recent promotion by religious spruiker Brian Tamaki, and others, of another march to Parliament Grounds planned for next week. This one, apparently, promises mock “People’s trials” on the steps of Parliament. Ugly.
Televangelist and twice-failed mainstream political force ‘EFTpos-tle’ Brian Tamaki has “commanded” his followers to attend – even if they can’t get leave to do so approved by their employers. “Me and god would be disappointed…” he said in a video message (below) to the faithful. (Oh boy. Where do I start?)
Tamaki’s Wikipedia entry is instructive:
“Brian Raymond Tamaki (born 2 February 1958), is a New Zealand fundamentalist Christian religious leader and right-wing political activist. A Tainui man from the Ngati Ngawaero and Ngati Maniapoto tribes, he is the leader of Destiny Church, a pentecostal Christian organisation in New Zealand which advocates strict adherence to fundamentalist biblical morality, and is notable for its position against homosexuality, its patriarchal views, and for its calls for a return to biblical conservative family values and morals. He has also stated the COVID-19 pandemic is a sign the world has “strayed from God”, which led to widespread condemnation, with one Anglican vicar describing Tamaki as “dangerous”. This, alongside many comments he has made, and how he has amassed a large fortune by preaching the prosperity gospel to a mostly working-class audience, has made him a controversial figure in New Zealand.
His church has led a strong campaign that opposes COVID-19 vaccination, lockdowns and mask mandates since the pandemic began in New Zealand, and are currently engaging in protests against mandates at Parliament. In 2022 Tamaki was being briefly imprisoned for breaching bail conditions as he took part in an anti-vaccination protest in Christchurch. In the same year, following its failure to file, Destiny Church’s charity status was revoked.”(So, Mahatma Gandhi he is not.)
The NZ Herald reports:
Police will be monitoring a protest led by Destiny Church’s Brian Tamaki that intends marching through central Wellington before staging a mock trial at Parliament.
New details have emerged of the rally set to take place on August 23 that will see protesters from across New Zealand assemble at Civic Square before marching to Parliament where they will hold a self-styled “people’s court”.
Police today said they were aware of the protest activity planned for Wellington later this month but would not say if they were in talks with Tamaki about the day.
“We recognise the lawful right to protest,” said a spokesperson.
“Police will be monitoring the event and will be working to ensure there is limited disruption to the wider public.”
No doubt the scenes in this TVNZ 1News video of the final day of the February-March anti-mandate/anti-vax/anti-government protest will be playing on some decision-makers’ minds…
The deceit at play in this
It surprises me (but it shouldn’t really) that there are still people trying to portray that protest as all about ‘peace and love’.
Some, ludicrously, try to blame the violence on the police themselves; or on ‘infiltration’ by mysterious outsiders or the likes of ‘antifa’. That’s complete rubbish, of course. Watch the 4 minute video above and you’ll observe the inconvenient truth of the real and present danger presented by those people wound up by these disinformation groups.
Attempting to re-write history to gloss over one’s own ‘sins’ and shortcomings is a universal human trait. Where it gets dangerous in my view, is when there’s deception and manipulation by others – including the cynical targeting and grooming of life’s vulnerable or alienated, and those already suffering – and the deliberate amplifying of their hurt.
A person’s search for meaning can become very sticky indeed if one gets mixed up in unscrupulous, cult-like, post-fact disinformation.
Weaponised half-truths, hostility and outright conspiracy theories, such as those propagated by deceitful groups using ‘wellness’ and ‘medical choice’ as a cover for their political activism (like, say, ‘Voices For Freedom’) lead nowhere good.
Don’t just take my word for it. See: Voices For Freedom billboards taken down after Advertising Standards Authority deems them ‘misleading and irresponsible’ – Newshub
Cynical Facebook ‘news personalities’, promising a “journey into New Zealand political cover-ups and international scandals” (yes, that’s a quote) as their benefit statement, seem to me to care mainly about building their internet fame, followers and ‘funding’.
It’s ‘engagement through enragement’, playing to the perverse reward system the diabolical Facebook company has set up, salting the earth as it flails into defeat and irrelevance.
So, next week, in Wellington:
Will we see a repeat of that awful confluence: destructive political extremists, neo-Nazis and wreckers; combined with the info-preneurs and ‘influencers’ plundering the gullible; and added to them Brian Tamaki’s bewildered and brainwashed flock … all inflamed to violence again on Parliament Grounds?
I don’t know. But I’m hoping those tasked with genuinely keeping the peace, while protecting the right to peacefully protest, and keeping our Parliament and our capital city safe are planning accordingly.
Archive copy: Mock Trials Planned For Parliament Protest – Newsroom
Archive copy: Police ‘monitoring’ Brian Tamaki-led Freedom and Rights Coalition upcoming Parliament protest, Wellington street march – NZ Herald
Archive copy: Voices For Freedom billboards taken down after Advertising Standards Authority deems them ‘misleading and irresponsible’ – Newshub