Scientology security stalks 'untrustworthy media' at new HQ

The Church of Scientology opened its new multimillion-dollar Auckland base on Saturday - but they weren't keen to show it off to the media.

Called an Ideal Org, the building is part of a worldwide push to gain ground, and cost $16 million.

The religion is high-profile, controversial and secretive - and it seems they want to keep it that way. There were cameras in place and security on every corner.

While the new HQ was apparently open to the public, reporters were stalked around by suspicious Scientologists.

"When we arrived there we were quickly approached by the press officer. At first she was friendly but she got increasing agitated and followed us around as we talked to neighbours," says Newshub reporter Kim Vinnell.

"We asked her to stop, and she said it was a public place and she said we were 'untrustworthy media', and Scientology has the right to control their media image."

It's an image notorious for allegations of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse, and the religion was paranoid about bad publicity - or worse.

"There were dogs sniffing vehicles going into the premises - apparently for explosives," Ms Vinnell says.

There are only 318 scientologists in New Zealand, 50 less than there were in 2006.

Small numbers, belying the fanfare which we've come to expect from this secretive group.