Police consider charges over Brian Tamaki led Auckland anti-lockdown protest

Source: 1News

Police are considering charging organisers of an Auckland anti-lockdown protest that unfolded on Saturday, led by Destiny Church leader, Brian Tamaki.

In a statement, a police spokesperson said police are "in the final stages of their investigation into breaches resulting from the large gathering at Auckland Domain over the weekend".

Tamaki organised Saturday's protest at the Auckland Domain, which drew around 1000 people who protested the Government's lockdown measures.

Similar protests were held around the country the same day.

Tamaki told 1News he didn't believe the rally would lead to Covid-19 infections.

"It was a super meeting and I don't think we are going to see that at all," he said. "I think everybody loved it and it was a great day."

On Monday police said they are, "considering charges in relation to the organisers of the event. However, it is important that police complete the inquiry process before final decisions are made," police said today. 

"The gathering of around 1000 people on Saturday was in breach of Alert Level 3 restrictions, which limit gatherings to weddings, funerals and tangihanga with no more than 10 people.

"Police are disappointed at the large numbers, and that organisers did not follow through on undertakings they had given police about how the event would be managed.

"As noted prior to the gathering, police have the ability to take enforcement action against people in breach of Health Order restrictions after the event," the statement from police said. 

Jacinda Ardern on Sunday, called the protest a "slap in the face" for those in the city as it enters its seventh week of lockdown restrictions.

The event has also riled Kiwis - enough for one to start a petition to Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, to charge Tamaki over the protest .

The petition on Change.org , currently aiming for 100,000 signatures, has almost 65,000 signatures at time of publish. 

"To date the New Zealand Police response over Tamaki's actions has been abysmal. Please show your support to send the message that we want out of lockdown and acknowledge that with events like these occurring this will potentially impact on our Christmas holiday period separating family and friends unnecessarily all for the ego and wallet of one very selfish individual," the petition organiser stated on Change.org.

"Brian Tamaki has flouted the rules since day one, he is actively encouraging others to break the rules and continues to disrupt our Covid recovery efforts."