It seems that the multi-national scam of Scientology has a much stronger foothold in New Zealand than I ever would have suspected.
According to an article published in the Herald in June last year, the church has 5000 members in New Zealand.
A spokesman for the church said "The New Zealand Scientology Church was formally established in January 1955, making it the first outside of the United States and the second oldest in the world. People from all over the country come to the church in Auckland for services. The new facility should be able to cater for 200 or so students and about 100 staff."
The new facility mentioned is located in the historic building below, which they managed to buy for ten million despite the building not actually being on the market. Whitecliff Art College then had to look for new premises.
"Gee, sorry guys, but we got some alien entities to cleanse."
Apparently Radio New Zealand broadcasted a news item about Christians marching against Scientology in Samoa in October last year. (You can read about it on this anti-scientology website).
Perhaps as counter-propaganda, the NZ Scientology website published a news item about Fiji welcoming the Scientologist ambassadors' 'South Pacific Goodwill Tour'.
Do a web search about the tax-status of Scientology in New Zealand, and you will find this heart-warming Scientology article about the day that New Zealand granted charity status to the church after 48 years.
Needless to say, the Scientologists framed this as not just a triumph of saved tax dollars, but one of ideological freedom.
Here is a quote from a third-generation scientologist kiwi in the above article:
“I grew up during the early days of Scientology in New Zealand and the experience gave me my first taste of religious intolerance. I vowed then to devote my life to human rights. Happily, such intolerance is a thing of the past in New Zealand, but some so-called civilized Western democracies such as Germany still have to catch up.”
What can I say but: I start to really appreciate certain things about living in Germany. Like the fact that a profitable organisation can't evade paying tax by brainwashing people into thinking that watching TV allows alien clusters to enter their body, and then making them pay hundreds of thousands of dollars (and sign a billion-year contract) to dress up in naval uniforms.
Here is an anti-Scientology forum which announced that the Charities Commission upheld the tax-exempt status of the church in New Zealand this month.
Reading that forum reveals yet more disturbing details. Apparently the Scientologists have attempted to target drug/alcohol addicts and at-risk urban youth, through their Narconon program. Apparently, according to them, these people are synonymous with the 'native population'. And that same native population have been coerced into donating premises and facilities to the church in NZ.
A quote from a Scientology sub-site:
"In 1997, Narconon Aotearoa (Maori for New Zealand) began full Narconon program delivery in facilities donated by the indigenous Maori community which, like the native populations of other countries, suffers heavily from alcohol and other drug abuse."
Thankfully a Narconon Center in Wanganui was successfully disbanded after protests by local residents.
The article that prompted me to start web-searching on scientology in NZ was this insane article in the Village Voice. You don't need to read the whole thing. If you start at page seven your mind will be sufficiently blown. If you were ever in any doubt of the ability of organisations with a lot of money and power to sway the US political system according to their desires, this might be the article that convinces you.
"In the most recent issue of Advance!, the magazine of the Los Angeles headquarters, Scientologists are encouraged to begin their advanced training on the OT levels after “going clear.” To entice them, the magazine contains stories by other Scientologists, identified only by initials, who have already attained advanced OT levels and have used their new abilities in what they call “OT phenomena.” One man writes of two gravel trucks bearing down on his automobile in what would have been a sure collision and his possible death—until, using his OT abilities, he slowed down time and made beams come out of him to hold back the screeching trucks. Another Scientologist took over the body of a man who was losing control of his car on the freeway, righted the car, and calmed the driver down. Another man pacified a ghost that, unseen to others, was bothering workers in his office building."
Well, I'd love to make laser beams come out of my body too, but any organisation that engages bare-faced in blackmail and persecution (which is what happens when people try to attack or even simply leave the church) should at least have to pay a few tax dollars for the privilege.