Ardern slates Destiny Church over gathering

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slates Destiny Church over 'illegal, morally wrong' gathering on Saturday. Photo: Stuff / Robert Kitchin

The protest organised and hosted by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki yesterday was "a slap in the face" for Aucklanders who were complying with level 3 rules, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Protests were held across the country yesterday, with up to 2000 people demonstrating against lockdowns in Auckland's Domain.

The Destiny Church is planning two more rallies against pandemic lockdowns later this month.

At this afternoon's Covid-19 update, Jacinda Ardern said the police response to yesterday's protest was an operational matter.

"It's very important I don't step into that.

"I do of course have a personal view on the protest itself; it was wrong, obviously it was illegal but also it was morally wrong.

"What does it say to every Aucklander who has given up a huge amount over the past few weeks to do the right thing and keep other Aucklanders safe? It was a slap in the face to them."

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield had a similar response.

"It's an unnecessary risk and an illegal risk as the prime minister said, and I just, you know it's frustrating and disappointing."

Ardern would not be drawn on the police response, saying they needed to be left to do their job and were still considering it.

In a statement yesterday, police said the gathering in Auckland was a breach of alert level 3 guidelines which limit gatherings to weddings, funerals and tangihanga with no more than 10 people.

They said while no arrests were made or infringement notices issued they were considering prosecution options.

Police were concerned that many protesters did not practise social distancing or wear masks.

However, Tamaki said he has seen worse compliance at Mission Bay beach recently.

He said the lockdowns have to stop because too many people are being harmed financially and emotionally.

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