A “shocked” Outdoors and Freedom Party has not agreed enter into a political alliance with Destiny Church-aligned Vision NZ, as claimed by church leader Brian Tamaki.
Outdoors and Freedom Party president Alan Simmons said on Wednesday his party had not yet decided to join the alliance of fringe political parties, to be called Freedoms NZ, and had informed Tamaki of this days ago.
“We’ve got a lot of members who are actually upset … We’ve actually had a few members resigned today, thinking that we’re in the coalition.
“There’s a love-hate relationship with the Tamakis with a lot of people.”
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Tamaki on Tuesday announced Vision NZ, led by his wife Hannah Tamaki, party would enter a coalition with other fringe political parties New Nation Party and Outdoors and Freedom Party. Tamaki made the announcement at a protest at Parliament.
The New Nation Party confirmed it had joined with Tamaki’s Vision NZ, in a statement posted to its Facebook page.
“I was shocked that he came out and said that we were in,” Simmons said. He was not at the protest.
Asked if the Outdoors and Freedom party’s platform aligned with Tamaki’s aims, Simmons said “not really”.
The Outdoors and Freedom Party and its co-leader, Sue Grey, have been heavily-involved in the anti-Covid-19 vaccine and mandate movement, have spread conspiracy theories about the efficacy of the vaccine, and participated in an occupation of Parliament grounds earlier in the year, which ended with a destructive riot.
“We’ve got a huge proper policy base, that covers everything from freshwater, recreational fishing, to health and welfare and education. We’re not just strictly into freedom, in that sense,” Simmons said.
“I am a little bit worried that we could end up being labelled a totally freedom nutter party, which we seem to be getting labelled. But I’m not sure what the Tamaki party stands for.”
Simmons said the Outdoors and Freedom Party had discussed with Tamaki the possibility of joining combined political project during the Tauranga by-election earlier in the year.
“He was just vaguely trying to put together a group, and we did say to him, ‘There’s a lot of things to be considered’. Who the parties are, and he had no idea who they were, and how the whole thing’s going to run.”
He said there was debate within the party about whether it made sense to join Tamaki’s alliance, or go alone to try and obtain the 5% of votes needed to enter parliament, at the 2023 election.
Grey received 5% of the vote in the recent Tauranga by-election, 1030 votes, he said. Whereas, the New Nation Party had received 260 votes.
The party would meet in a month’s time to decide whether to join. Simmons said he was happy to continue talking with Tamaki about the possibility.
The Destiny Church leader has also called on former national Party MP Matt King’s Democracy NZ party, which has not yet been registered with the Electoral Commission, and the New Conservatives, to join his umbrella party.