A pastor who has been vocal about his opposition to Covid-19 vaccine mandates says his church will comply with the Government’s new traffic light framework.
In a video posted online, he said the announcement of the traffic light framework made him think “Nazi Germany has arrived in New Zealand”, he said.
He then went on to compare the plight of unvaccinated people in New Zealand to that of Jewish people during the Holocaust.
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Multiple court cases have found vaccine mandates are valid and are not a breach of human rights.
With Auckland in the red traffic light setting, churches can have up to 100 people inside, based on one-metre physical distancing, if they are all vaccinated.
However, if churches choose not to follow My Vaccine Pass requirements, the gathering will be capped at 25.
Mortlock said this week City Impact Church would be primarily online during the red traffic light.
“Obviously as a church we are and will comply with what the current situation is,” he said.
“The situation is very fluid, we want to remain flexible, and do our best to pastor and reach out to people in the midst of the season.”
Mortlock would not confirm whether the church would be using vaccine certificates.
He said he wanted to see special dispensation given to churches around seating capacity, and said alternatives like “rapid testing” could be used for non-vaccinated people.
“By far the majority of churches would like to see some ‘exception for churches’ being considered as an essential service, for people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.”
Mortlock supported National MP Simeon Brown’s proposal to exempt places of worship from vaccination certificates.
“Places of worship most often operate an open door policy for all New Zealanders and the usage of vaccine certificates deeply undermines this function and despite religious leader’s best efforts, there are likely to remain a small minority of attendees who remain unvaccinated,” the Pakuranga MP said in a letter to the Government.
Mortlock previously endorsed an anti-mandate rally fronted by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki and organised by the Freedom and Rights Coalition.
Tamaki is facing charges after attending three such rallies. He is accused of breaching a Covid-19 order and breaching his bail conditions.
The Destiny Church leader was released on bail again last week.
Destiny Church was approached for comment.