Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki's tweet that he was the victim of an attempted "political gang rape" by senior Government ministers is offensive, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis called it "disgusting".
Tamaki today ramped up his war of words with the Government, tweeting that it looked like Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Davis had tried a "political gang rape" on him.
The tweet was his latest response in a battle over Destiny Church's Man Up programme, which Tamaki wants to introduce into the country's prisons.
Tamaki told the Herald today his reference to gang rape was nothing to do with the experience of people who had been raped but referred instead to a "planned assault by Labour's top MPs on his character".
He said that to liken his use of the phrase to the act of gang rape was to "pervert what my real meaning is there because that's nothing to do with that at all".
"The term is about three senior Cabinet Ministers … ranting about a prison reform programme, a successful one at that – Man Up – ranting on social media and one of them criticising me. Don't you think that's a bit more than coincidence?
"Our prison system is in a serious condition and Kelvin's got no answers to it."
Ardern told reporters today she had not seen Tamaki's latest tweet but said the use of the phrase "gang rape" to describe his treatment by the Government was offensive.
"If he wants his programme in prisons, if he wants to do good, then he should engage with us, not send offensive tweets.
"He's certainly not helping himself," Ardern said of Tamaki's attempts to get the Man Up programme in prisons.
Davis called the tweet "disgusting. It's offensive on every level. If that's his form of Christianity I don't think many people want that".
"I think it speaks volumes about the sort of person he is. Who writes that sort of stuff? First of all trying to incite violence, revolts in prison, then expect me to allow him to go in there. There's no way that's going to happen."
Davis said he was seeking advice from Corrections on Tamaki's access to prisons but said he had "blown it".
"It would just be irresponsible of me to say 'away you go Brian, all is forgiven'."
He said Tamaki had produced a "Bingo sheet" of numbers on a piece of paper as proof that the Man Up programme worked.
"Just numbers on it, pretty random."
Justice Minister Andrew Little said any decision on the use of the Man Up programme in prisons was a matter for Davis. He called Tamaki's tweets "hot-headed stuff" and out of line.
"He says he's committed to doing his bit to address the issue of family violence, domestic violence and try to turn lives around. You don't do that by what looked like threats."
Little did not rule out the use of the Man Up programme to address family violence but said if Destiny Church wanted public money, it had to be open to scrutiny.
Tamaki warned yesterday of revolts in prisons if the Government continued to deny access to the programme.
The Government and Corrections have repeatedly said Destiny Church has never made an application to run the course in Corrections' facilities.
Ardern said yesterday it was "irresponsible" for Tamaki to incite violence in prisons.
"We've made the point time and time again that there is a process that we have to go through. We're obliged to make sure that when anyone is seeking to put a programme into Corrections that there's a procurement process,"
In December last year, Tamaki led a rally of 2000 supporters including leather-clad bikers, to Parliament to urge the Government to allow the church to work