Paint companies are the only real winners in New Zealand’s ongoing, bitter war over Pride crossings

A video shows three people painting over a rainbow, Pride-themed crossing in Auckland

On Thursday (28 March), three people were filmed painting over an LGBTQ+, rainbow crossing in Auckland, New Zealand. The video was posted to TikTok by an account called @aucklandcitynight00.

Police have confirmed that they are treating the vandalism as a “hate crime”. It follows similar vandalism to a rainbow crossing in the city of Gisborne earlier this week, which the mayor described as an “act of hatred and division.”

The latest Pride-themed road crossing to be vandalised is located on Karangahape Road, a street that forms Auckland’s main LGBTQ+ district. Police have reportedly said that the “appalling act of vandalism happened at about 3.20am and we have done our best to minimise the damage”.

It is believed that the crossing has since been repainted in the Pride colours.

The Karangahape Road video shows three people wearing hooded sweatshirts, sweatpants and balaclavas covering a rainbow crosswalk with white paint using long handled brushes, holding up traffic as they do so.

Several comments on the TikTok video suggested that the three individuals might be linked to Destiny Church: a far-right New Zealand Christian fundamentalist organisation known for its anti-LGBTQ+ stance.

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However, there is no proof that Destiny Church is in any way linked to the Karangahape Road vandalism.

The online conjecture that the Auckland rainbow crossing vandals might be related to Destiny Church in some way is likely due to the fact that several Destiny Church members were recently arrested at a protest against a rainbow crossing in Gisbourne, a city in the North Island of New Zealand.

On Monday (25 March), the Gisbourne crossing was obscured with white paint, in a similar act of vandalism to the incident that took place at Karangahape Road. It was quickly restored.

Destiny Church’s leader Brian Tamaki admitted that his organisation carried out the Gisborne incident, tweeting the next day: “So the Mayor of Gisborne (A Drag Dancer by night) Has already spent Ratepayers $$ on Repainting the Rainbow Crossing Back over what we Painted over yesterday..This insane from Local Councils..Money to waste on illegal Pride Pedestrian Crossings but cant Spend Money on local needs.”

The Gisbourne paint incident formed part of a protest by Destiny Church members against a planned drag queen story hour at nearby library. Tamaki had previously demanded that Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz cancel the ‘Rainbow Storytime’ event. She did not.

In response, church members blocked off the rainbow crossing and used white paint to completely cover the Pride colours. It was repainted on Tuesday, after which a heated demonstration involving Destiny Church members and counter-protesters also took place outside the library during the storytelling event.

When church members returned on Wednesday, apparently intending to repaint the Pride crossing white again, they were met by a heavy police presence and arrests were carried out.

A library in the city of Hastings, three-hours south of Gisborne, went on to cancel a story telling session for children by the same drag queens – Erika and CoCo Flash – on Wednesday, citing security concerns.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she was deeply disappointed to be forced into cancelling the event. “We had every intention of standing up to this intimidation and going ahead,” she said. “But unfortunately the potential for there to be possibly aggressive protests outside the library is something we can’t subject our children and the rest of the community to.”

In 2016, Tamaki made headlines when he said that devastating earthquakes that had struck New Zealand were caused by “gays, sinners, and murderers”.

Tamaki, who has repeatedly said that he thinks he’s being “bullied and overpowered” by the “gay agenda” has also attempted to stop progressive, pro-LGBTQ+ legislation being passed in New Zealand.

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