Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Ministry helps New Zealanders offshore

Ministry helps New Zealanders offshore

New Zealand’s Embassies offshore received nearly 40,000 consular queries during the year to 30 June 2013.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade consular divisional manager Lyndal Walker says while most queries can be quickly dealt with, the Ministry opened 1851 new consular cases in the past year.

“Cases can range from Kiwis suffering a serious accident or injury offshore, to local law infringements, lost passports, missing persons or being the victim of a crime. For example, in the past year assistance was provided to the families of 147 New Zealanders who died overseas.”

When New Zealanders fail to get travel insurance – or under-insure – cases become more complex, Ms Walker says.

“A young man broke his leg in a skiing accident in Europe. He had insurance but he hadn’t signalled to his insurance company he would be undertaking what the insurer deemed to be a ‘high risk’ activity. The company denied him cover and he had to cough up several thousand euros to pay his medical bill.

“You need to ask sensible questions about your travel insurance and what it covers. For example, riding on scooters (especially without a helmet) is often excluded unless you specifically request it.”

While Embassies and High Commissions can provide advice and support, they can’t bail out New Zealanders in financial strife, Ms Walker says.

“This applies equally to New Zealanders detained overseas. While we can provide a list of local lawyers, attend hearings and visit people in jail, we cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country, nor can we provide legal advice or seek that person’s release.”

Ms Walker says it’s vitally important for New Zealanders travelling offshore to register with the Ministry, at www.safetravel.govt.nz. “For example, at the moment we have 200 Kiwis registered with us in Egypt. The Embassy remains in regular email contact with them and is able to provide updates on issues of concern around the on-going civil unrest, including if our Travel Advisory changes.”

“But even if you’re going to a less troubled destination, you still need to register. When we tried to contact New Zealanders thought to be running in the Boston marathon at time of the bombing, we discovered that none had registered with us and some relatives had an anxious wait for news.

“In a crisis, it’s often those registered with us who are contacted first to confirm they are ok and if they require our assistance.”

Ms Walker says there were some offbeat requests in amongst the 39,077 consular queries during the past year.

“Some New Zealanders holidaying in a remote village in France rang our Embassy to ask where they could watch All Blacks games on television.

“Another New Zealander offshore rang a High Commission to ask if they could arrange for his rental property in New Zealand to be checked by the Police, to make sure tenants were keeping it in good order.

Of New Zealand’s posts around the world, the Embassy in Bangkok spent the most time managing consular cases, followed by Rome and then Manila, with Jakarta and New Delhi rounding out the top five.

SafeTravel.govt.nz features official travel advice for New Zealanders on most destinations worldwide.

“Log on to SafeTravel before you take off,” Ms Walker says.

“Check out the latest travel advice, register, and then double check your travel insurance. It is important to take responsibility for your travel choices, your safety and behaviour overseas.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What We Could Do For Hong Kong, If Only We Dared

There has been something repulsive about PM Jacinda Ardern’s assurances that our joint 5 Eyes criticism of China’s actions over Hong Kong – and China’s harsh reaction – are all well understood on both sides. According to Ardern, it has been a case of us saying the sort of things we’ve said before, them acknowledging our need to do so, and then them responding much as we would expect them to do. All neat and tidy. Frankly, if all of this is merely virtue signalling on our part, and huffy declarations of independence on their part, then what’s the point of this diplomatic dance..? More>>


Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>


Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>


National: Leader’s Speech At Annual General Meeting

Good morning delegates. It’s an absolute privilege to be speaking as your leader. I’d like to acknowledge the party president, regional chairs, board members, National Party staff, our MPs, our candidates, and most importantly, you – the delegates, ... More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>


Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>


APEC: New Zealand Ready To Host Virtually

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels