More than 200 of Whanganui's Exclusive Brethren members were hustled together to meet their supreme world leader on Sunday.

Bruce Hales, also known as the Man of God, controls more than 40,000 Exclusive Brethren members from around the globe, 8000 of whom live in New Zealand.

The church leader, who is based in Sydney, arrived in Whanganui on Sunday and left just before noon yesterday in a private jet.

At the weekend the Sunday Star Times reported that Mr Hales was visiting because he was unhappy with his New Zealand followers and raised concern about "lawless and wicked" behaviour.


The report said Brethren congregations in New Zealand had been told to repent their excessive consumption of alcohol.

But a church spokesman, Doug Watt, said that speculation was false.

"This is incorrect, alcohol was not discussed."

Mr Watt said the Church regularly organises fellowship meetings for its members so they can get together to learn more about the Bible and enjoy each other's company.

"We have a lot of younger members who enjoy getting together at these fellowship occasions to meet up with their friends and participate in the meeting," Mr Watt said.

He said it was not the first time Mr Hales had visited Whanganui and it would not be the last.

The Plymouth Brethren was a mainstream Christian Church and its members have been in New Zealand for well over a century.