Christchurch council invoices mandate protest organisers $14k

Source: 1News

Christchurch City Council is taking action against Destiny Church and anti-mandate protest organisers, saying it "shares the frustration" of locals impacted by the behaviour at the events.

Protesters in Christchurch on November 20 2021.

Council has sent an $14,117 invoice to the Freedom and Rights Coalition, the organiser of three pre-Christmas protests in the city, to recover costs for traffic management.

It will also send a bill for a protest at the weekend at Hagley Park and on Riccarton Rd.

"The Council is also writing to the organiser of the Destiny Church services in Cranmer Square to advise him that the services and protest events being held within the park breach the Council’s parks bylaw and potentially the District Plan and that they need to stop using Cranmer Square, at least until a permit has been applied for and granted," the council's general manager of infrastructure, planning and regulatory services Jane Davis said.

"The council is also going to meet with police to discuss the situation."

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki visited Christchurch at the weekend to give a Sunday sermon to the local Destiny Church congregation and spoke at an event held in a park on Saturday, a church spokesperson told RNZ on Monday. The spokesperson described the event as a picnic.

Police on Monday told 1News they are "continuing to look into" whether or not Tamaki breached his bail conditions by attending the events.

Davis said: "Cranmer Square is a special park and the only events that are normally held there are commemorative events, such as ANZAC Day services. It is also in a residential area and the ongoing church services and protests are upsetting the local residents."

"They are rightly concerned that the organisers of the protests and church services have been erecting temporary stages and portable toilets and operating food trucks without the required permission from the council.

"We totally share the frustration of residents who have complained to us about the impacts of the noise and behaviour associated with their events on their neighbourhood. We are pursuing all avenues to minimise, or preferably eliminate, the adverse impacts on the Cranmer Square residents."

Derek Tait, a senior Christchurch Destiny Church pastor, told Stuff he hadn't seen an invoice and would seek legal advice before paying anything.

He said he had not been spoken to by council and wasn't aware he was breaching bylaws.