Nicola Willis claps back at 'jealous' Brian Tamaki after attack on 'rainbow spending'

  • 26/06/2024
Nicola Willis; Brian Tamaki.
Nicola Willis; Brian Tamaki. Photo credit: Newshub.

Nicola Willis is being applauded on social media for firing back at controversial church leader Brian Tamaki after he launched a homophobic attack at her.

On X, formerly Twitter, the Destiny Church patriarch lashed out at the Minister of Finance for "rainbow spending" and took issue with her being a follower of drag king Willy SmacknTush on Instagram.

Tamaki also baselessly claimed the Young Nats are "riddled with the trans/rainbow agenda" and described SmacknTush as "an adult entertainer who attempts to entertain our kids".

The performer is one of several drag artists who have recently had to cancel events due to threats and intimidation.

"NZ's finances... in good hands or rainbow hands?" raged Tamaki.

"Can you believe NZ's Minister of Finance, Nicola Willis, is a follower of Willy SmacknTush?... Can we trust this new Finance Minister to rein in the rainbow spending?"

Tamaki's post triggered a few dozen replies over several hours, the top one coming from Willis herself.

"No need to be jealous Brian. I'll follow you on Instagram too if you'll give lipstick and boas a go," she tweeted.

On Facebook, the response is winning praise from many commenters, some of whom claim to not be supporters of Willis and the National Party.

Nicola Willis claps back at 'jealous' Brian Tamaki after attack on 'rainbow spending'

"Don't like her at all but this is the first clever thing I've heard her say!" one said on the 1 News post.

"Probably the first time I'm clapping for a Nat," said another.

"Best thing she's ever said since Budget Day," added a third.

"Credit where due - well played," said another.

SmacknTush's performance at Upper Hutt City Library was cancelled this week over "hate speech, threats, violence, and aggression". In a statement on Instagram, the performer said they supported the library's decision, but called the move "hugely disappointing".

"The abuse both [the library] and I have received... has been horrendous and relentless," they said.

"The safety of our tamariki, library staff, and the public is essential. But so too should the LGBTQIA+ communities right to exist without fear, to use our civic spaces, and to hold events that celebrate us and our own diversity.

"Spaces like libraries are there for us all. If you don't want to go to a storytime event presented by a drag performer during International Pride Month, don't go to one.

"Drag is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ history and culture. It's a fun way rainbow families can celebrate and show pride with their whānau and wider supportive community. Drag performers, much like most adults, can alter their behaviour to be suitable for their audience. Their costumes, alterego personalities and the content of their performance for a family show look a lot different than an R18 event.

"To Destiny Church, Family First, and all the other groups and individuals who have been threatening me, trying to intimidate me, and sharing misinformation and lies about me and the place drag has in our community: I feel pity for the small, dark, and hateful world you live in. You can never win; our queer and trans whānau aren't going anywhere.

"We will continue to wear sparkles, be authentically ourselves, and be proud. We won't take your bullying. We will continue to show up at our libraries, community centres, parks, and pools. And we will continue to read books to our tamariki (sometimes even in sparkles!)"