Duncan Garner: Mt Roskill Evangelical Church not secret sect of wealthy elites

OPINION: I have an admission to make.

I am proud of my association with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church, which is at the heart of this COVID-19 cluster in Auckland.

There are questions about whether rules were broken and police have been involved - that's appropriate.

It's not OK to break the COVID-19 rules and we must get them on board, and we must get our new cluster under control. 

But listen to me first, before you attack these people personally.

I first met them in 2012 when I came back to Auckland from Wellington.

I signed my son up at the local rugby league club Bay Roskill and soon realised the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church and the club were more or less one and the same.

I have been friends and close friends with some of these people ever since.

They are not some secret sect that shuns outsiders.

They are not wealthy elites living on another planet

They are the most hard working blue collar rugby league hard people you would ever meet.

Some own engineering workshops, there are tradies, health workers, you name it

they are hard working families who care about their kids

Yup, they're on the conservative side when it comes to "values". They're a bit sceptical of the creep and worth of liberalism, social media, and the breakdown of the traditional family institution.

Now, I don't know what they have and haven't done when it comes to the lockdown rules, but these people don't go out to break the law - they believe in the rule of law, they are good people.

They are financially independent, they have grown their assets, they have been wise.

They pay their way, they feed their own, they eat together, they live close by each other and telling them to stay out of each other's bubbles is actually hard.

I know the leader of the church well. His name's Monty and he has a great sense of humour.

He's so far failed in his many attempts to sign me up with God, but it must be true that "God loves a trier". Because Monty is sure trying.

He says I'm the long lost son.

But I will defend these people with all I have. They are good people, doing great things away from the limelight and I'm proud to call them my friends.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.