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Thousands of heartbroken Kiwis ‘in limbo’ as they remain locked out of New Zealand


“I was struggling postpartum and having a baby without your family here, and the support network they provide was hard.”

Her partner’s family picked up the load but she “just never imagined that I would have to do this without my family being involved”.

“My dad hasn’t met my seven month-old son yet, and I haven’t seen him in over two years,” she said.

“You just feel like you’ve not a Kiwi any more because she’s (Ms Ardern) completely ignoring the one million people overseas who still call New Zealand home.”

Niki with her husband Lewis and son Roman.

Niki with her husband Lewis and son Roman.

Journalist Charlotte Bellis is another stuck overseas. She wrote in an article in the New Zealand Herald that she could not return from Afghanistan, where she had been reporting, after Ardern’s government rejected her application for an exemption to gain entry.

“When the Taliban offers you – a pregnant, unmarried woman – safe haven, you know your situation is messed up,” Bellis wrote, saying she was trapped with her Belgian partner.

Niki, her husband Lewis and their two and a half year-old son Roman began planning to move back to NZ from Sydney last year to be with family after Lewis was unable to return to be with his mother before she died.

The family resolved to move to NZ based on government announcements in November and quit their jobs, began renting in Auckland, and enrolled their son in daycare.

“Then the bomb dropped,” Niki said. “At the end of November they decided to push the date off. It was a huge, huge blow. I’ve never felt so much despair and disappointment that as citizens we can’t go back to our own country.”

Niki applied for an emergency exemption more than two weeks ago and found out on Saturday that she was successful. The family has been given 14 days to arrive, or they will lose their spot.

Head of MIQ Chris Bunny said the border is “closed to almost all non-citizens and residents to help keep New Zealand safe”.

“MIQ has helped to safely bring more than 218,000 people here in the midst of a global pandemic, as well as care for over 3600 community cases,” he said. “Right now, MIQ is under pressure like never before.

“There are severe capacity constraints in January and February for both managed isolation and quarantine rooms.”

New rules for vaccinated people to isolate at home will depend on the government’s decisions, which are expected soon, he added.

with Reuters

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