A Mt Roskill church leader at the centre of the one of Auckland's mini-clusters says he doesn't know much about science or politics.
The Evangelical Fellowship church, which has now been linked with 48 Covid-19 cases, came under fire after Health Minister Chris Hipkins said some people linked to it were sceptical about the seriousness of the pandemic.
He said officials were moving as quickly as possible to contain the sub-cluster, but "repeated, deliberate and malicious spread of misinformation" was threatening to block a move to level 1.
However leader Kelly Vogel told Stuff the church was widely misinterpreted, discriminated against and the target of unfair commentary.
He rejected claims the Fellowship was secretive and said he wanted Auckland to move to alert level one as soon as possible.
"We should go straight to level 1. That's what we should do," he told Stuff.
"We don't really know too much about science. We don't really know too much about politics.
"We believe God is totally in control."
However, Vogel added while the church wouldn't always agree with the Government it would abide by Ministry of Health directions and was encouraging members of the congregation to be tested.
The Ministry of Health today said there were 33 cases in the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship sub-cluster, which was sparked when an infectious church member visited the home of a bereaved family while awaiting results of a test.
There are a further 15 cases in the bereavement group, including the person who visited the family.
In a statement the Ministry said both groups are working closely with public health staff to manage the outbreak and prevent any further spread.
"Leaders of the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship have actively encouraged all members of the congregation to get retested for Covid-19 and comply with other public health advice such as self-isolation.
"Ninety-eight per cent of people of the congregation and those attending the bereavement events have now been tested.
"We want to thank them again for their participation in contributing to our efforts to control the wider Auckland cluster."