Barry Soper: Did the Tamakis deserve Government's wrath for 'escaping' Auckland?

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 6:00AM
Brian and Hannah Tamaki. (Photo / Brett Phibbs)
Brian and Hannah Tamaki. (Photo / Brett Phibbs)

Barry Soper: Did the Tamakis deserve Government's wrath for 'escaping' Auckland?

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 6:00AM

Did self-appointed Bishop Brian Tamaki - who now describes himself as an Apostle - and his politically ambitious wife Hannah deserve the wrath of the Government in "escaping" Auckland to dodge the city's lockdown?

After hearing Jacinda Ardern on Saturday night make the announcement the city was moving to alert level 3 the next morning, they packed their bags and headed to Rotorua, arriving at midnight.

In the morning, they addressed a Destiny Church congregation, bragging about breaking out of the city the night before.

But they broke no rules.

They were given eight and a-half hours' grace before the city's gates were closed.

They weren't on their own. Thousands of people climbed into their cars and scarpered, most probably to holiday homes where they'd suffer the incarceration for the next week, as they've done in the past.

"Totally irresponsible," the Minister in Charge of the Government's Covid response Chris Hipkins said of the Tamakis.

And of course, he's right, which is pretty rare for the Government's response to Covid over the past couple of weeks.

As church leaders, even if they are self-appointed, they should lead their flock by example, not by doing a runner.

The next day they did their best to ensure their cup runneth over, which was possibly another reason for their rush to Rotorua.

Hannah Tamaki, who drummed up 0.1 per cent of the vote for the Vision NZ Party at the last election, was thumping the money tub when she addressed the congregation.

Tithing, she told the people present, was very important to herself and the Apostle. People should never come to the House of God empty handed, she said, even suggesting they use the AP [automatic payment] machine.

"Bring what you can over and above," she preached, "because really it's the offering where God commands a blessing.

"The tithe is being obedient, so you bring ten per cent. That belongs to God, and you get to thrive on the 90 per cent."

Just to give them a bit of additional encouragement, the Bishop's wife told them that if they wanted to be blessed, they should go over and above and give a bit more of an offering.

"You will be thanking the Lord for what he's going to bring to you.

"I mean we had a jubilee blessing that we didn't even ask for. We got given a Tesla, hello, you know we didn't need another car. The abundance of God is for his children. So, I'm not going to say I'm going to sell that car, give it away, it was given to me."

The congregation, some of whom are perhaps struggling to make ends meet but probably hoping to be similarly blessed if they dug deep into their pockets, applauded.

And no Tesla, didn't give them the car, and she wouldn't have to give a second thought to fringe-benefit tax. Destiny Church is a charity and doesn't pay tax.