Corrections staff asked to be vigilant after Tamaki’s tweet
Monday, May 20th, 2019 (CathNews N.Z.)
Department of Corrections staff were advised to be vigilant about escalated tension after a tweet by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki in which he warned of revolts in prisons.
Tamaki later said the tweet was not serious.
The department wouldn’t go further into detail “relating to a threat, or our response,” but said it took “all threats to the safety and security of our sites seriously”.
In April, a war of words broke out between Tamaki and government ministers, including Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
Tamaki said he wanted Government funding to introduce his Man Up programme into prisons, but Davis stated Tamaki had failed to follow proper application procedures.
Among several tweets he posted about the funding not going ahead, Tamaki wrote that “we will plan thru private visits to inmates in every Prison to bring Man Up in and cause inmate revolts in every prison (sic)”.
He subsequently said his tweet came out of frustration from the obstacles the programme had faced.
“I put that tweet out because they refused to listen, so what do you do when you’ve got something that our indigenous people want.
“Inmates are writing letters every day, I can give you letters.”
Tamaki said the tweet which talked of revolts was designed to get attention.
“The incitement is not serious, really, I can’t cause that in prisons, how do I do that? We’re not even allowed in … but I got your attention, that’s what it was.”
Tamaki says the programme has a success rate for non-reoffending of 72 per cent.
Self-declared ‘Bishop” Brian Tamaki of ‘Destiny Church’ N.Z., can be his own worst enemy. His campaign of ‘manning up’, which is intended to boost the testosterone level of Kiwi males (at the expense of the LBGTQ community?) has now strayed into the tricky area of the N.Z. Government’s Corrections department, which supervises the welfare and conduct of prison inmates.
A noted critic of the LGBTQ community – like U.S. President Donald Trump – Tamaki is ready to challenge the N.Z. Corrections Department by issuing threats to the effect that, if his program of ‘Manning Up’ for male prisoners is not accepted, inevitably the result will end in chaos. Tamaki’s Tweet to this effect has been – perhaps naturally – resisted by the Corrections Minister and the Labour government.
The government is naturally concerned about the disciplinary problem Tamaki’s aggressive Tweet could cause in our New Zealand Men’s Prisons. Like Donald Trump, Mr Tamaki’s tendency to tweet before he thinks clearly about its effects may get him into serious conflict with the civil authorities.
For a religious leader to aggravate the tension in the prison system is surely contrary to good order and discipline – in a situation where grievances can too readily be brought into an already tense and dangerous environment – is not only contentious but also lacking in spiritual and healthful outcomes in our already stress-inducing incarceration system.
However well meaning the Destiny Church initiative to encourage men to ‘Man-Up’ in their attitude towards their family responsibilities; the temptation to emphasize the more aggressive male characteristics that have probably put them into prison in the first place could well lead to the prison riots that Tamaki threatens will occur if he does not get his own way on this issue.
Like Donald Trump, Mr Tamaki has to learn that Tweets can have an outcome that later causes regret to the Tweeter.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
The Man Up programme claims to have more than 300 groups operating in every main city and town in New Zealand, as well as groups running internationally in Australia and Cambodia.