Hannah Tamaki is standing by her former campaign manager, insisting the events that led to his sacking will not affect their friendship.
The Destiny Church pastor and Vision New Zealand Party leader sacked Jevan Goulter, her election campaign manager, on Tuesday over comments he made about The Project co-host Kanoa Lloyd on Facebook.
Goulter’s post was taken down by Facebook after it was reported as hate speech. A complaint about the post was also made to police.
However, on Wednesday, Tamaki wrote on Facebook that the pair “are still and will always be friends”.
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“You don’t have to always agree with each other… And true friends understand that our actions have consequences,” she wrote in a comment on Goulter’s page.
“I know how to love someone unconditionally, 9 years of true friendship is what we have and always will be.”
The comment struck a markedly different tone to a previous statement from Tamaki that said she was “appalled” at Goulter’s outburst.
“I would never condone that disgusting language and behaviour,” she said.
“I would also like to state clearly that Jevan Goulter is not, and never has been, a spokesman for Destiny Church.”
Goulter later posted a video apologising for his comments.
The whole saga began when the news broke over the weekend that Tamaki was going to be a contestant on the upcoming season of Three’s Dancing with the Stars.
Lloyd, who works for Three, was among those who slammed the decision, saying on Monday night’s episode The Project: “I love Dancing with the Stars, and I don’t really think I want to see a homophobic paso doble or a xenophobic cha-cha.”
On Tuesday evening, Three issued a statement saying it had decided to drop Tamaki from the lineup.
“We have seen a very strong reaction, some of which has been extreme and concerning and MediaWorks does not condone bullying,” the statement read.
“We would be failing in our duty of care to everyone if we continued as planned.”