No, New Zealand Taxpayers Are Not Funding a Fisting Party at Auckland Pride

The Auckland Pride festival started this weekend on Feb. 2, and will continue through Feb. 18 — Happy Pride, New Zealand! As always, their Pride had lots of events, parades and parties scheduled. However, there’s a controversy over this year’s Pride. As the Pride festival is partially funded by taxpayers, people are worried they’re paying for a New Zealand fisting party.

Every year at the Auckland Pride Festival is the Kiwifist party. Kiwifist is “a full-on, five-hour-plus, gathering of gay and bi men into fisting and arse-play big time!” The party, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 10, is open to any man who wants to participate. It costs $30 NZD (or about $22 USD) to enter.

But on Feb. 1, Auckland’s Ratepayers’ Alliance, posted a blog decrying that their taxes were going to fund a New Zealand fisting party. The Alliance does make clear that their objections aren’t borne from homophobia. Their statement says, “The Ratepayers’ Alliance does not believe ratepayers should be subsiding sex parties, regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved.”

Jo Holmes, spokesperson for the Alliance said:

I’m certainly not someone who would have concern with Pride, however I have concerns personally as a member of the gay community with the direction Pride is going with its events, and as a spokesperson for ratepayers, I can see no justification at all for [Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED)] to be sponsoring an event like KIWIFIST.

Sex parties do not benefit the general ratepayer.

However, the uproar is all over a misunderstanding. The Alliance posted this screenshot, which they used as evidence Kiwifist was being funded by ATEED:

new zealand fisting screenshot

And, no, the screenshot hasn’t been doctored in any way — the ATEED logo does appear in the footer of the Auckland Pride site. However, the only Pride Festival that gets taxpayer funding is the Pride Parade. None of that tax money is going to Kiwifist (or Pig, Random Shagger or Under Your Skin You Look Divine, for that matter). Kiwifist was just a victim of bad design — which has been fixed. The ATEED logo no longer appears on search results nor event pages — with the exception of the Pride Parade.

Get your New Zealand fisting on at Kiwifist 2018 on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Lateshift in Auckland.

Featured image by Romolo Tavani via iStock