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Team Of Six Million Campaign Launched In Opposition To Quarantine Fees

A group of 14 overseas-based New Zealanders have this week launched a global campaign advocating for the ability for New Zealanders returning from overseas to come home without having to pay any fees associated with quarantine.

Inspired by the Prime Minister’s comment in May that, in banding together in an attempt to eliminate covid-19 in New Zealand, the nation had become a team of five million, the Team of Six Million campaign calls on the New Zealand Government to make a compassionate and fair decision at Cabinet today and reject calls to pass the costs of managed isolation onto returning New Zealanders.

“There are an estimated one million New Zealanders currently based overseas, many of whom have been faced with the insurmountable task of trying to make it back home in the midst of a global pandemic to reunite with family, friends and loved ones,” says Phoebe Carr, a spokesperson for the Team of Six Million.

“The New Zealand government has been rightly praised for its response to covid-19, and quarantine is an important part of that. It’s a crucial step in keeping everyone safe: it prevents spread and ensures we can all be confident interacting with each other without community transmission of the virus.”

“However, there are currently several discussions across the political spectrum that would effectively shift the cost of New Zealand’s public health response to Covid-19 onto individuals. This user-pays approach would disproportionately affect low-income Kiwis based overseas, and could well be a breach of New Zealanders’ fundamental rights as well as a violation of Māori rights to tino rangatiratanga under Article 2 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” says Carr.

In its six short days of operation, the campaign has struck a chord with New Zealanders living at both home and abroad. A Facebook group, Team of Six Million: Kiwis United against Quarantine, has already amassed over 2,800 members, and a petition launched on Wednesday morning has obtained almost 3,500 signatures.

In addition, a survey set up to capture information on the types of New Zealanders affected by this proposal has already seen a variety of responses from New Zealanders across the world who would be adversely affected by the implementation of a quarantine fee.

The Team of Six Million have already been contacted from hundreds of New Zealanders from across the globe, many of whom have stories that Carr describes as “heart-breaking.”

“We have heard numerous stories of people who have suffered terrible losses – be they employment opportunities or the death of a loved one – who now find themselves making the stressful transition from their current country of residence back home to New Zealand.”

The Team of Six Million intends to release more details of the findings of this survey in the near future.

Fellow spokesperson for the Team of Six Million, Max Harris, says: "Our view is that New Zealand should retain its publicly-funded quarantine system."

"A system without exemptions is simpler and less costly to administer, so our position is no quarantine fees: no caveats, no ifs or buts."

To find out more about the objectives and action of the Team of Six Million, please visit the Team of Six Million Facebook page here or join the discussion on Twitter by searching the hashtag #TeamOfSixMillion.

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