'Protest in a field!' - Seymour slams Tamaki supporters

By Will Trafford

“Brian Tamaki should be held at Springhill Prison, which is in a large field, so his protestors stop disturbing my constituents in their homes,” says ACT Leader David Seymour (Ngāpuhi).

Tamaki was remanded at Mt Eden on Monday on charges of breaching lockdown rules; his followers are surrounding the facility arguing for his release and on Thursday night they barricaded the entrance over claims hygiene products were being withheld from the Destiny Church leader.

“I have heard from residents terrified to leave their home. Some have temporarily moved elsewhere. One is recovering from an operation and is being disturbed in his home asking me ‘please advise when they’re going.’

Seymour was involved in an altercation that required police intervention on Friday; details were not released by authorities because of privacy laws but he says he went to the prison to appeal on behalf of constituents.

“Good Christians respect family, and the right to live in your home in peace. They do not rev motorbikes, play music, or lecture on loudspeakers outside people’s homes. Tamaki’s supporters have been doing all that this week, and residents are terrified."

"You have a group of people who obstruct and grab at those they don't like, despite pleading that they are having a peaceful protest," he said.

Seymour says he’s a free speech advocate, but protestors would be better placed having their voice heard by Corrections.

“if Corrections wants to hold Tamaki at Mt Eden Prison, they should let the protestors camp on Corrections’ front yard, not on the street outside my constituents’ front doors, over 200m from the actual prison.”

“Good Christians also know what their Good Book says. When Peter the Apostle was imprisoned by King Herod, he was set free by an angel and left the prison. His supporters (friends of Jesus) were gathered praying at Mary, the mother of John’s house, not outside the prison,” Seymour argued.

The ACT leader is calling on Corrections to shift Tamaki to the Springhill corrections facility south of Auckland.

“The simple solution is for the Corrections to move Brian Tamaki to another location. Then his pilgrims can go and protest in a field outside Springhill, rather than disturbing local people. Put it another way, why would Corrections decide to hold a prisoner in a place that does so much harm to innocent people?”, Seymour says.

A spokesperson for Tamaki's supporters says they are obeying the law.

"Seymour needs to take his fight up with NZ Police and the Department of Corrections. They need to release Brian Tamaki, his crime does not warrant this level of imprisonment," they said.