Anti-lockdown protester Brian Tamaki's Destiny Church is earning money from a Covid test site and medical clinic, it has been revealed.
Tamaki has been charged with organising and attending a protest in Auckland's Domain allegedly in breach of Covid lockdown restrictions in early October, and then with attending a follow-up protest.
Both protests were a hotbed of people spreading misinformation about the Pfizer Covid vaccination.
Tamaki spoke at both protests, arguing he isn't against people getting a Covid vaccination, instead believing everyone should be able to choose whether or not to get a jab without facing bullying about their choice.
Today, Tamaki's wife Hannah said the Christian church run by the duo earned money leasing buildings it owned to a medical clinic giving out vaccinations and using a car park to do Covid tests.
"They asked us at the beginning of the Covid and back in February whether they could actually lease because they wanted to set up a testing station in South Auckland," Hannah Tamaki told Newstalk ZB radio presenter Kate Hawkesby this morning.
"We're not opposed to people being tested, Kate."
She also said the church didn't have its own GP practice but that it leased part of its building to a medical centre.
Hawkesby responded, saying: "So you're not opposed to areas where you can make money from it?"
To which Tamaki replied: "Oh well, I don't think we need to talk about that part of it."
"That's a pittance compared to what the rest of the building costs are. But we lease it out to a school, to an early childhood centre and a gym. Now if the medical centre is part of our lease, who are we as the lessee to actually decline them the right to run, what they've been asked to run."
However, hours after the interview with Newstalk ZB, Destiny Church sent out an email saying there had never been a vaccination centre on its property.
"The church management received a request from the Whanau Ora Community Centre (another tenant within the building) who wanted to rent a portion of the church facilities," Destiny Church said.
"The church declined this request, even though it could have received a significant amount of income, as the vaccination campaign did not align with the church's values."
It said the Whanau Ora Community Centre pays a small amount to lease part of the carpark for a Covid testing station.
"The church has no problem with people being testing for Covid."
"Destiny Church also does not own this property, they only lease it. Any sublease income generated by the property is not income to the church, it goes to the property owners (a non-related entity)."
Brian Tamaki was not involved in any of these business matters with the Whanau Ora Community Centre, it said.
The email did not address whether the church leased to a medical centre or not.
Hannah Tamaki also earlier wouldn't reveal whether she or her husband had been Covid vaccinated.
When pushed about why she wouldn't say, given they had influence to encourage others to get vaccinated, she said it was up to those people to choose for themselves.
"We want people to know that they are free to make a choice, they are not alone. We have people we know that are vaccinated, we have people we know that aren't, that choose not to, they just want to wait.
"And I think that our rights are human, to say what we take into our body, when we take it, really should always remain our own choice, not be bullied into it, or forced into it and even dividing families over who is vaccinated, and who isn't vaccinated."
The Government and health experts urge all New Zealanders to get vaccinated as the Pfizer shot greatly reduces the chances of Kiwis dying or falling seriously ill from Covid.
The Government has also stated that having as many people vaccinated as possible is the best way to try and end Covid lockdowns.
Hawkesby also asked Hannah Tamaki how she reconciled the fact that protesters holding anti-lockdown rallies risked spreading Covid and causing more of what they were protesting against.
But she said how else could these people be heard.
"Where do people get a right to express themselves, to use their voices to make choices? Auckland is being punished."
If convicted of the charges relating to both October protests, Brian Tamaki could face up to six months' jail and a $4000 fine.
Hannah Tamaki said her husband realised how serious his charges were.
"We're not selfish people. And he's decided that he wants to stand for the freedom and rights of a whole lot of other people. There is a group of New Zealanders that choose not to be vaccinated."
"So he's happy to break the law," Hawkesby asked.
"Well I don't think he deliberately wants to break the law," Hannah Tamaki said.
"But he has broken the law," Hawkesby said
"He's going to tiptoe up to the line Kate ... and shout over the other side, 'people make the choices that are right for you'," Hannah Tamaki said.