Controversial church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki has warned of revolts in prisons if the Government continues to deny access to Destiny Church’s Man Up anti-violence programme.
Despite his claims, the Government and Corrections have repeatedly said Destiny Church has never made an application to run the course in Corrections’ facilities.
Today in a series of tweets, Tamaki warned of prisoner uprisings, he and his wife Hannah traded insults with Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Tamaki called Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis a liar.
Today Ardern bit back, calling it “irresponsible” 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,” Ardern told reporters at her regular weekly press conference.
“My best advice is that Man Up has not gone through that process. They’ve repeatedly criticised the Government for not allowing them into prisons but then do nothing to formally make an attempt to put anything towards Corrections and enter into a process.”
“I do think it’s irresponsible to try to incite violence in the prison system because you’re not getting your way.”
She said Tamaki was trying to claim his course was being denied access to prisons but she understood he had never tried to.
“If this is all about trying to get his programme into prisons then he should focus on doing it properly.”
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 in prisons.
Tamaki presented a petition to Little asking the Government to allow the Man Up programme into prisons.
Little said he would table the petition in Parliament and it would be looked at by MPs.
“I want to talk with you about what you’re doing, what we can do and what we can do together,” Little said at the time.
However, Davis told the Newsroom website today he wouldn’t trust Destiny Church with a Corrections contract.
“I don’t trust any contract that they had, if they were to work in prisons, wouldn’t go into funding an extravagant lifestyle, overseas holidays, cars, jewellery, and Harley Davidsons. I don’t believe the money would go where they say it would go,” Davis told Newsroom.