Title: Defanging the Lunacy? Destiny v Transit NZ Credit: Craig Young Comment Monday 24th January 2005 - 12:00pm1106521200 Article: 583 Rights
Transit New Zealand has announced that it is too risky to allow Destiny Church's projected "Defending the Legacy" march on 3 March. TVNZ and TV3 covered the news item on both news broadcasts, and the latter depicted major bridge reverberations from the seabed and foreshore hikoi, as well as the logistics of policing that event, and obstruction of traffic. Brian Tamaki wasn't there to object- Andrew Stock, a pakeha, acted as media liaison. TV3 uncritically accepted Destiny's claims about march numbers without subjecting their claims to criticism, given inflated numbers of participants related to the "Enough is Enough" anti-CUB march in August 2004. According to Scoop and fundamentalist media, Peter Mortlock's City Impact Church and "twenty South Auckland Pacific Island" churches are co-participants. On Scoop and TV3, Stock announced that his sect and fellow travellers would march regardless. This raises questions about trespass if Transit New Zealand acts in the interests of public safety. If Destiny members and others face arrest and imprisonment for their potential trespass activities, it could boomerang against the church, and fundamentalist communities. When anti-abortionists resorted to similar radical, militant trespass and obstruction activities in the late eighties and early nineties, their entourage was hit with backlash against the illegality of their tactics and loss of sympathy for their movement. Does Destiny intend to pay the costs of potential trespass and obstruction fines? On another note, I object to comarisons to the seabed and foreshore hikoi. For the most part, that protest was a law-abiding mass movement against perceived Crown confiscation of traditional land use rights, and mobilised a broad cross-section of iwi. By contrast, Destiny Church, City Impact Church and their alleged Pasifika allies are marching against partnership rights for lesbians and gay men, as well as occupational safety for sex workers and reproductive health for adolescents who may need confidential contraception and abortion access. Tellingly, Maori-specific concerns aren't even on the march agenda this time. Why? Was that omission designed to appeal to Destiny's redneck, conspiratorially minded pakeha Pentecostal and fundamentalist elements? It could also be asked where Destiny and City Impact Churches have been during the last month or so, and whether their sects have contributed to tsunami relief initiatives in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia. It is obscene that affluent televangelists are lording it over their sects while innocent children are facing possible starvation, typhus and cholera epidemics in devastated South and South-East Asian coastal communities. Have Tamaki, Mortlock or any of their senior ministerial personnel made substantial donations to TEAR Fund or World Vision activities in the affected areas? If not, why not? Have Transit New Zealand's actions defanged the lunacy? Will Tamaki, Mortlock, Stock and associates continue, despite traffic obstructions, irate motorist backlash, possible damage to bridge infrastructure and further anti-fundamentalist backlash? Watch this space. Craig Young - 24th January 2005    
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