I met the author of this opinion piece at an Anglican church in Havelock North. He was an incredibly warm-spirited and encouraging person. The piece itself is tactfully written, and–given the constraints of newspaper regulations–provocative without needing to prove itself overly deep.
NZ is supposed to be a very secular society. Everyone I’ve met has told me this.
I encourage you to read through the comments. They alone are enough to bolster the claim that atheism and unbelief are as emotionalistic (and, at times, irrational) as their counterpart, faith.