Hannah Tamaki refuses COVID-19 vaccine as husband Brian compares media to KKK 'lynch mob'

  • 04/03/2021
 It comes as the couple received criticism for leaving Ackland on the eve of its level 3 lockdown.
It comes as the couple received criticism for leaving Ackland on the eve of its level 3 lockdown. Photo credit: Newshub/Getty

Hannah Tamaki says she will not have the COVID-19 vaccine, as her husband threatens legal action for journalists who reported the couple fleeing Auckland on the eve of lockdown.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Hannah said she would not apologise for leaving the city on Saturday evening, hours after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced it would switch to COVID-19 alert level 3 on Sunday.

"We are not the ones to say sorry," she wrote. 

"Everything in your life is a choice.. make sure you choose for yourself, not be talked into something you are not happy to do .. I'm not taking the vaccine.. that's my choice.."

The couple left Auckland for Rotorua on Saturday night, arriving at midnight. On Sunday morning they held a large church gathering, and declared their intention to tour the country, saying they would be in Invercargill by the weekend. 

The decision to leave Auckland before lockdown was condemned by Chris Hipkins, the Minister for the COVID-19 response, who said it was "completely inappropriate" for the couple to "sneak" out of Auckland.

"Sneaking out of Auckland at the start of a lockdown and having large gatherings of people is simply putting people at risk unnecessarily."

Asked about Brian being sighted in the South Island on Thursday, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said he"does get around". Tamaki left Auckland after the lockdown was announced, but before it officially came into effect.

Bloomfield says people should be limiting their movements and not attend large gatherings.

"There should not be large gatherings anywhere in the country."

On Thursday Brian Tamaki published a blistering opinion piece which compared the media coverage he received to "to the historic lynchings of African Americans when they were hung from trees for public display by the Klu Klux Klan".

In the piece Brian says he believes he acted responsibly when he left Auckland for Rotorua, and then held a large church gathering the following day.

"I've had my own COVID-19 tests that have returned negative. I also was not displaying any signs of flu-like symptoms. Therefore, I believe I acted responsibly."

He said he intends to take legal action against the "discriminatory and defamatory" statements published by a wide range of news organisations - including RNZ, The Herald, Stuff and Newshub. 

Brian accused media organisations of "striving to silence his voice".

"This has been a clear 'Act of Hate' driven by pure jealousy from within the New Zealand media. They are intent on trying to cancel my influence within this nation because I continually challenge their agenda and take them to task."

He added he will sue "any other reporters that come to light".