Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says he's suing councils, libraries for 'rainbow-washing'

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says further action is to come.
Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says further action is to come. Photo credit: Newshub.

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki claims he and his followers are going to "sue" councils and libraries around the country for "rainbow-washing our communities and targeting our children and youth".

It comes after the church claimed responsibility for a rainbow crossing being painted over in white recently.

Tamaki said now that he'd claimed "attention" with the rainbow crossing white-outs, it was time to push his church's controversial perspective further.

"We've struck a raw nerve in Kiwis. Kiwis have had enough of the rainbow-washing going on. It's gone too far. It's crossed the line when it's targeting our innocent kids and young people," Tamaki said.

Tamaki and his wife, Hannah, plan to sue the Auckland City Council and its libraries "for the misappropriation of ratepayers' money across the supercity of Auckland", his statement said.

Other councils in the firing line

Meanwhile, around the country, his followers are taking the same action.

Heker and Epirosa Robertson plan to sue the Wellington City Council and its libraries; Ernest and Leighton Packer against Gisborne District Council and its libraries; Rewi and Davina Hare against Rotorua Lakes Council and its libraries; and Michael and Jewel Ngahuka against the Hastings District Council and its libraries.

"This is just the beginning of ratepayers challenging their local councils and libraries. Enough is enough," Tamaki said.

"For too long councils and libraries have abused and wasted ratepayers' money on Drag Queen Storytime events and disproportionately promoting the rainbow movement."

However, councils are pushing back against the action.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown told Newshub Tamaki and his followers are a group who don't pay rates "and who are damaging things".

"Ratepayers shouldn’t be subsidising them," Brown said.

"I don't want to give them airtime, but they are defacing public property - this is the real waste of ratepayer money."

Brown stressed he is against intolerance of all forms.

"I support all Aucklanders in our diverse city," he said.

And Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau – who Tamaki personally referred to as "the greenest mayor ever" in his statement, said: "I will not be intimidated by Destiny Church and proudly stand with our rainbow communities here in Pōneke.

"Our rainbow crossing, celebration of Pride events and funding of queer organisations shows Wellington City Council's commitment to recognising diversity and inclusion in the capital. Building a city that rainbow communities feel safe and included is a key priority for Council.

"In this city, discrimination will never be tolerated. Pōneke is a place where everyone can live with dignity, equality, and respect. End of story."

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz told Newshub Brian Tamaki has taken up too much oxygen already and she won't be commenting any further.

Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell said it's the council's job to support everyone in the community.

"Rotorua is a welcoming and inclusive place," she told Newshub.

Tapsell said Rotorua's Rainbow Storytime event was to be paid for by the Friends of Rotorua Library Society, not ratepayers.

"Our Council is very aware of the financial challenges people are feeling. Unfortunately the event was cancelled at late notice due to safety concerns regarding protests against the event."

Council had to fork out $600 plus GST to cover costs for the cancellation, Tapsell said.

"It doesn't make sense to pursue legal action as that would cost ratepayers significantly more without delivering any benefit for our community."

Meanwhile, Tamaki said "cash-strapped" councils had become "money-lauders".

He noted many Kiwis will be facing hefty rates rises, most in the double figures.

"How do you explain to a struggling elderly pensioner in Auckland, barely making ends meet, that they have to fork out even more this year for rates, while their hard-earned ratepayers' money is funnelled into rainbow propaganda and drag queen events?

"Local councils fail to fix our roads and potholes, [traffic] gridlocks, water pipes, and infrastructure, yet without hesitation can fork out $9k for a new rainbow crossing on K-Road in Auckland, or $40k on a rainbow [precinct] in Cuba Street, Wellington."

"I don't believe rainbow crossings and Drag Queens are vital or essential services and I think a lot of Kiwi ratepayers' will back me up on this. There are far more important issues the money should go on."

Tamaki said his group was in talks with legal experts "preparing for what's coming".

But Tamaki is himself facing possible legal action, from Taranaki drag queens Erika and CoCo Flash, who say false information has been spread about their Rainbow Storytime events.