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Brian Tamaki at a protest in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King
Brian Tamaki at a protest in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

PoliticsMay 25, 2019

Our domain: how to troll a political party for less than $100

Brian Tamaki at a protest in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King
Brian Tamaki at a protest in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Yesterday, Destiny Church rebranded their political arm as The Coalition Party, and Tim Batt bought their domains before anybody else could. He writes on the value of online trolling as political protest.

Brian Tamaki is the burned soft tissue on the roof of New Zealand’s mouth. If we could only bring ourselves to completely ignore him and his wife, they would simply disappear and stop causing pain and annoyance. Sadly, I (like a lot of people) can’t help myself sometimes.

That’s a stupid name. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s also illegal, per the Electoral Commission rules. I’m convinced they have no earthly idea what they’re doing. Which is weird, considering they attempted to enter parliament a decade and a half ago.

They launched with no policies, no website and importantly for me, not even a reserved domain registration for their party’s name online.

So, I bought and redirected it to the first episode of The Male Gayz, a web series about queer Aotearoa starring two very talented gay comedians, Eli Matthewson and Chris Parker (I produced the series). I bought and redirected it to a petition to remove Abortion from The Crimes Act.

Was what I did ultimately helpful? Maybe not! It seems Destiny Church are at historic lows for membership and relevance. They’re basically flash mobs in 2019, yet somehow lamer.

It’s likely that with the attention this joke has garnered online, I’ve played right into their hands for publicity. I’ve touched the burn again and made it worse. But at some point, you can’t keep ignoring it. Because these people are total bullshitters.

The Tamakis have built a congregation on poisonous, macho (and frankly, confusingly homoerotic) tight leather jacket-clad marches, motorcycles and hatred. They believe being gay is inherently evil. Think about that for a moment – that your sexual attraction determines your worthiness in the eyes of God? That’s not just offensive and obscene, it’s run-of-the-mill stupid.

The Coalition Party’s leader went on RNZ today and said she’s against abortion because “she doesn’t like abortion” – guess what, nobody likes abortion. This dense-as-a-cinderblock talking point imported from America (where the Tamakis stole the whole concept of gaining virtue for every level you add to your mansion) is a distortion of what abortion rights are.

Nobody is going around wanting unborn babies to die. It’s a heart-wrenching decision for women that involves so many complicated personal factors, New Zealand has roundly (and rightly) decided it is up to the woman to determine. Functionally, if not legally. Abortion reform needs to trend toward greater liberalisation, not restriction.

Our media gives Destiny an undue amount of attention. I am likely part of that problem now. There’s a solid argument for ignoring these attention-hungry fanatics and letting them tumble down the drain of political obscurity alongside Colin Craig and Jamie Whyte. What I did took five minutes and less than $100. It was a silly joke. I did not expect it to get the reception it has. But I am glad to be a source of frustration for this organisation. There is real value in mocking these people.

At some point, you can’t keep ignoring bigots because in that vacuum, people get othered. ‘Casual bigotry’ gets normalised. Extremist ideas get laundered by broadcasters. Completely off the wall ideas take root and people get hurt. The Tamakis are an aberration in New Zealand politics. Their values are antithetical to New Zealand values. We intend to keep it that way. So screw ’em. I will buy and redirect domains to troll them.

Keep going!