New Zealand has established itself as a prime example for completely losing the plot when it comes to handling Covid and the associated travel rules allowing citizens to come home, even beating Australia (and that’s saying something).
The NZ government got totally humiliated this week, showcasing their insanity as a journalist in Afghanistan who is now an expecting mother turned to the Taliban (of all people) for help after she got initially denied entry to her home country over tight entry quotas.
For two years now the government of New Zealand leaves its citizens stranded abroad and being unable to return home on short notice as the only way to get into the country is through a rigid quarantine system where spots are allocated through a lottery.
During most of the past two years, the spotlight was almost exclusively on Australia and it’s oppressive health policies simply because not many people care about New Zealand. While there is a lot of stunning landscape around the country it’s really not in the mainstream of travelers and receives little attention which allowed the NZ government to get away with even stricter rules than Australia without facing the same media backlash.
One current case of a New Zealand woman turned the tables on that this week as her story made international headlines in publications such as The Washington Post.
This is absolutely ridiculous. The New Zealand government’s interpretation of “keeping the country safe” is to lock out their own citizens for almost two years and that’s the best idea they have after pretty much most of the world has moved on from these absurd policies. They have no better solution after all this time in order to keep their 5 million citizens and 26 million sheep “safe” than to tell people “You’re not getting in until you win a spot in the lottery!” !? This is the definition of losing the plot.
That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty to criticize about the lady’s actions as well which left her stranded in a country now ruled by extremists.
… Bellis thanked “New Zealanders for their overwhelming support” and said she would “continue to challenge” the government to allow its citizens stranded abroad to return home and to create “a pathway for other pregnant New Zealand Citizens to rightfully give birth in their home country.”
Bellis worked as a journalist for Al Jazeera based in Qatar until she found out in August that she was expecting a child with her partner, freelance photographer Jim Huylebroek. She resigned from her post and left Qatar, where it is illegal to be pregnant and unmarried, for Huylebroek’s native Belgium.
In the process, she lost her health insurance. By January, her Belgian tourist visa was approaching its limit. She counted on New Zealand’s borders reopening in February and thought she only needed a place to wait out the remaining weeks. “We both had work visas for Afghanistan,” Bellis told The Post in an interview Monday. In her previous job, she covered Afghanistan from Qatar, and Huylebroek, who had worked in the country for seven years, had a home in Kabul.
Bellis said she has faced questions about why she didn’t go to another country. “And to that I say: Do people really expect a six-month-pregnant woman to jump on tourist visas from country to country, having lost her health insurance and her job, with no family support, without her partner, only to show up at a hospital when she goes into labor with a credit card and say, ‘Can I give birth here?’”. …
Let’s start by saying that there is no specific right that guarantees you to give birth in your country of citizenship. How would that work? Of course, if you’re home then you give birth there but if it’s not possible because of whatever reason such as being unable to travel for safety, medical or financial reasons you can’t demand that you’re being brought home just so your child can be born there.
The circumstances surrounding her pregnancy in Qatar and the need/wish to leave the country make complete sense. Qatar isn’t an environment you want to be in as a woman under any circumstances as the law simply doesn’t protect you there in even the most basic disputes and that’s totally unacceptable, not to say disgusting.
But to then go to Afghanistan just because you have a work visa for that hellhole?? I have heard a lot of crazy stuff in my days but reigns in the top ten of the most absurd decisions ever. Who cares about your work visa? Go to another commonwealth country as a tourist or just hop over to Europe. Plenty of countries were open for travel during the second half of 2021. There is absolutely zero justification of going to Afghanistan willy nilly as things were already deteriorating.
I have no sympathy for her due to such an irresponsible, nonsensical choice. I’m not even saying that due to her pregnancy she should have been given preferential treatment to skip the quarantine lottery placement mechanism.
I do have a significant problem with the policy of preventing people to travel and especially returning home at will. It just cries incompetence that a government can’t up with a sensible policy that brings back normalcy and life quality. Get your vaccine, get a test and fly home. In case you don’t have the vaccine then go into short-term isolation.
Of course, the New Zealand government already had plenty of egg on their faces.
After several hailed travel bubbles have burst:
And the Prime Minister (who just isolated last week due to a Covid scare) even held a victory ceremony with the motto “We’ve beaten Covid!“
Then, semi-admitting defeat, in October they decided to abandon their Zero Covid strategy but yet the quarantine policy and quotas remained:
This latest case with the journalist must have embarrassed Ardern and her government so much that they finally announced a policy change today as reported by BBC this afternoon:
New Zealand has announced a phased reopening of its borders, as the country starts to ease some of the world’s toughest Covid restrictions.
Vaccinated citizens in Australia can go home from 27 February without needing to undergo state mandatory hotel quarantine.
Jabbed citizens elsewhere will be allowed in from 13 March, said PM Jacinda Ardern.
People will still have to self-isolate for 10 days but can do so at home.
The announcement comes after growing criticism of Wellington’s controversial closed-border policy to keep out the coronavirus.
New Zealand’s borders have been shut for nearly two years due to the pandemic. …
While the closed border policy has been popular domestically, New Zealanders overseas said it had made it near impossible to go home.
The huge demand for hotel quarantine spots shut many Kiwis out.
What a sudden change of heart and policy. Truly amazing how fast “science” can move with the appropriate bad publicity for a government.
Things in New Zealand are slowly moving in the right direction. Let’s see if this episode has finally pushed them to do the right thing and open the country to their own citizens again, ending that inhumane and nonsensical quota policy.
As far as tourists are concerned a country can obviously do however their lawmakers please. There is no right for a foreigner to enter another country of which he’s not a citizen so you got to work based on the immigration laws. NZ had previously announced several dates for tourists being able to return but these dates always came and went, especially in light of the Omicron surge.