An unrepentant Hannah Tamaki, who “escaped” Auckland with her husband on the eve of the latest Covid lockdown, has attacked her critics and declared she will not be getting the vaccine.
The Destiny church leader and aspiring politician has this morning lashed back at critics who have lambasted the couple’s decision to leave their home with just hours to spare before the city’s borders were closed to curb the spread of the latest community outbreak in South Auckland.
It’s a stance that’s troubled a leading vaccinologist who says not only is the church leader’s stance ill-conceived but could result in a lot of damage.
The Tamakis sparked outrage when it was revealed they hurriedly left Auckland late Saturday night for a speaking tour of their churches across New Zealand.
They addressed a congregation in Rotorua Sunday morning before heading to the South Island. They are due to speak in Invercargill this weekend and were spotted in Te Anau on Tuesday.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins called their actions “completely irresponsible”
But in a Facebook post this morning the Vision NZ leader said they had nothing to apologise for.
“We are not the ones to say sorry. The media need to apologise to our people, calling them poor and less intelligent and need to have the Covid vaccine.
“Everything in life is a choice. Make sure you choose for yourself, not be talked into something you are not happy to do.
“I’m not taking the vaccine. That’s my choice.”
But vaccine safety expert advisory group member Helen Petousis-Harris said the pronouncement was disappointing and most unhelpful.
“It is extremely harmful.
“It’s also ill-conceived and can result in a lot of damage.
“These people are highly respected in their community and they should be basing their communications on good trustworthy information, not misinformation.”
Petousis-Harris said church leaders in the past had been fabulous voices for public health and helping to keep their congregations safe.
She advised those in the congregations to listen and seek advice from family doctors about the covid vaccine.
In an earlier post Tamaki said racism was “alive and obvious in New Zealand”.
She said of the thousands that left Auckland before Sunday’s 6am curfew the media were choosing to focus on her household.
“Out of 9000 cars that left Auckland the only [one] mentioned is the one the media love to invoke the public to hate. Talked to a lawyer that left also. Hello. Not law breakers and covid free. Too much hate in this nation of god-loving people.”
Destiny Church has been approached for comment.
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