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Letter to the Editor – MIQ

Opinion – Letter to the Editor

Dear Government

Stop thanking me for doing my bit as an Aucklander. Why wouldn’t I? Stop celebrating the vaccination statistics when we could have been ahead of the game if you had just agreed to pay the asking price for the Pfizer vaccine way back when, and stop trying to tell me that you have improved the MIQ process. That it’s better and fairer to those thousands of Kiwis currently overseas. It isn’t. It sucks. And that’s the situation that enrages me the most.

My daughter is a professional sportswoman. Her only career opportunity lies overseas. That’s just how it is. But in the off season, when her team disbands, her salary stops and her accommodation disappears, she likes to return home to NZ – the country for which she holds citizenship and represents internationally. I believe it is her fundamental right, and that of every New Zealander trying to get home, to be able to do that for whatever reason and for however long they want. Nothing should undermine that and yet now she and thousands of others are effectively in a lottery to achieve re-entry. How bizarre that a remand prisoner HAS to be legally returned to his home outside a Level 4 ringfenced area and yet Kiwis overseas seem to have no legal basis to insist on entry into their own country.

It doesn’t take the latest winner of ‘The Chase’ to work out that a huge number of Kiwis want to return in the months building up to Christmas, and yet while we were in a nirvana of normality for months, you sat on your hands, didn’t join the dots and failed to construct an effective Plan B for handling the inrush.

My daughter is fully vaccinated, has been for months. She has had more Covid tests than I’ve had hot dinners and she is OCD about adhering to every hygiene protocol that’s ever been suggested. She has begun to think she was born wearing a face mask. Insist on a negative test just before she leaves her overseas domicile, test her again as soon as she lands in NZ. If negative, allow her to self isolate, test her on the 5th and 12th day and every day in between if you like. Phone her every day to make sure she has stayed put – in fact attach an ankle bracelet. We don’t care. She will do anything you ask to be able to return home, to her country of birth, and enjoy much needed time with family and friends. Her need is that of so many.

So dear Government, It’s time you started listening to our best and brightest in the private sector and looked outside the very narrow parameters you are currently operating in.

Get a move on!

Pip Bowen

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