New Zealanders react with rage after Brian Tamaki holds anti-lockdown protest

Kiwis are reacting with anger after Destiny Church pastor Brian Tamaki held a protest event on Saturday.

More than 1000 people turned up 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".

Police say while the gathering at the Auckland Domain breached the alert level 3 restrictions, no one has been arrested or charged so far.

Tamaki told supporters "society has been restructured in fear" and they've had a "gutsful".

"Today we are facing a Government we thought we could trust. Instead they are stripping away the freedoms and rights of everyday Kiwis.

"That's what they give to prisoners. We've all gone to prison."

But the protest, held while Auckland is still in alert level 3, has caused outrage amongst politicians, health experts and the public.

ACT leader David Seymour called it an insult to law-abiding Aucklanders.

"Our largest city has been locked down nearly seven weeks. Now a selfish minority may make it worse for the majority, and I bet they're too simple to see the irony," he said in a statement.

"Today's protest was beside the Epsom electorate. I've never met a Destiny supporter in Epsom. In our community, the Christian teaching is selflessness. Brian Tamaki's stunt is not Christian, it is the ultimate in selfishness."

Auckland Councillor Richard Hills called it a disaster "in so many ways" and accused Tamaki of being "the lowest of the low".

"These people are putting us at risk of a longer lockdown and for more widespread illness. They're preaching anti vaxx nonsense too. So put more people at risk. So you can assume many were unvaccinated & not worried about testing if they need to," he posted.

"Brian Tamaki as always, is preying on vulnerable communities who are already more likely to be vaccine hesitant, they'll get sick and spread the virus across our community while he'll be safe in his mansion with his money."

The protest also sparked anger among the public online, with one several people calling for Tamaki to be arrested.

"How Brian Tamaki is allowed to do this is beyond me. This is a lockdown extension waiting to happen. Where is the concern for our ākonga who have exams coming up, for our vulnerable and elderly? For children who can't be vaccinated? This should never have been allowed to happen," one person tweeted.

"The police doing exactly nothing about Brian Tamaki and his stupid anti-lockdown protest is a slap in the face to all of us who have abided by lockdown rules for nearly 7 weeks," another said.

"Congrats Brian Tamaki… your selfish protest will no doubt lead to a spike in cases and Auckland being stuck in lockdown for longer," a third said, along with the "dickhead" hashtag.