COVID-19: Brian Tamaki's crowd urged to learn from south Auckland churches, Sikh and Muslim communities and do 'something positive'

The Fundraising Institute is hitting out at Destiny Church over pastor Brian Tamaki's involvement in an anti-lockdown protest on the weekend. 

More than 1000 people turned up to the event in Auckland run by Tamaki's group, the Freedom and Rights Coalition, which opposes the Government's coronavirus restrictions. Protests were also held in Christchurch and Wellington.

The Auckland crowd of people include gang members on motorbikes, young children and elderly, many not following social distancing rules or wearing masks. Some bore signs and personalised T-shirts promoting "pro-choice" and "freedom from lockdown", with one sign reading "free 2 parent" and a T-shirt saying "free to choose".

On Monday Fundraising Institute executive director Michelle Berriman said high profile charities urging their supporters not to get vaccinated are "actively working against the Government's COVID messaging while still being happy to take Government funding". 

"Given the massive hardship and stress COVID is causing to a variety of communities in New Zealand you would have thought all charities would actively support vaccination as a tool to help communities deal with COVID," she said. 

"Ask anyone in Auckland's hospitality sector, and in our tourism sector in general, how they feel about what happened on the weekend.

"Ask Kiwis how they feel about that while they are stuck in lockdown because our vaccination rates aren't yet high enough. What we saw on the weekend was unacceptable," she said. 

Berriman said instead of spreading misinformation charities should follow the lead of south Auckland churches and Sikh and Muslim communities who have all devoted themselves and their resources to helping both their own and all other people in need.

"These groups recognise the dangers and hardships COVID causes and are doing something positive to protect communities from COVID's worst effects.

"I think all charitable organisations should take a leaf from their book and work together for what's best for New Zealand as a whole in this case."

She said a recent survey of the Fundraising Institute's members backed this view up, showing 90 percent encouraged staff, volunteers and members to get vaccinated.

Almost 80 percent of respondents said their organisation, or the communities they support, are at risk from people who do not get vaccinated.

Berriman said the survey also showed not even 10 percent of respondents would support charities maintaining their charitable status if they actively advocated against vaccination.

"The message is pretty clear," Berriman said, "we are urging all registered charities to support the Government's vaccination policy; if they don't, we want the appropriate authorities to take action."

She's not the only one to hit out at Tamaki. More than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for him to be charged for his involvement in the protest.