Hannah Tamaki has praised Maria Folau for standing by her husband, Israel Folau, in the wake of his sacking from Rugby Australia.

Israel, a committed Christain like Tamaki, lost his $4 million contract after posting a Bible passage and image which was criticised for being homophobic.

The image said "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" would go to hell unless they repented.

Last week Folau reposted her husband Israel's initial Instagram request for funds to fight his legal battle against Rugby Australia as she promised to support him.

Advertisement

Over the course of the weekend, she drew the ire of many who are against Israel's views on homosexuality, and Netball SA and Netball Australia released statements.

In response, Tamaki, the leader of the Coalition New Zealand Party, said in a statement the attacks on Folau were unwarranted.

Maria and Israel Folau. Photo / Getty Images
Maria and Israel Folau. Photo / Getty Images

"How dare anybody judge or demonise Maria for being a wife who stands by her husband," she said.

"It's called love, companionship, and the beautiful bond of marriage."

"Being married to a man who has spent the last 20 years in the headlines for speaking up means I know exactly what it's like to be challenged and persecuted for choosing not to add words to the public record."

Tamaki's husband, Brian Tamaki, has also drawn the headlines in the past for his stance against homosexuality.

In 2016, the Destiny Church leader claimed in a sermon "sexual perversion" and "homosexuality" were to blame for natural disasters.

Meanwhile, Tamaki has called for other sponsors related to netball and Folau to "back the heck right off".

Brian and Hannah Tamaki. Photo / Phibbs Visuals
Brian and Hannah Tamaki. Photo / Phibbs Visuals

"ANZ Bank and other sponsors associated with Netball New Zealand, you need to back the heck right off Maria," she said.

"Pathetic behaviour from a corporate that claims a whole bunch of values and clearly is devoid of practising any of them.

"It is bullying, it is harassment and it its definitely not okay. Anybody making such attacks or attempting to influence her employer should be absolutely disgusted with themselves."

This afternoon the Australian Christain Lobby hit the "pause button" on Israel's legal crowdfunding efforts after the tally surged past $2 million.

"ACL, Izzy, and everyone involved is humbled and grateful," the ACL said on its website.

"We are hitting the pause button. But if the case drags on and Israel needs more support, we will reopen this campaign.

"For now, we are thrilled that Izzy is not only supported, but a great movement of quiet Australians have found their voice. This cannot be ignored."

More than 20,000 people donated more than AU$2.2 million (NZD$2.3m) by Thursday morning.

A conciliation conference for Folau's case before the Fair Work Commission is scheduled for 9.30am (11.30am NZT) on Friday.