Some Gains, But More To Do Say Overseas Kiwis
The Team of Six Million, a group established to oppose the imposition of quarantine fees by the New Zealand government, says that the decision not to charge quarantine fees for those New Zealanders returning home permanently is good news, but that New Zealanders based permanently overseas are still concerned about significant hardship.
“The Government has made progress in recognising that quarantine fees will cause hardship, but Kiwis who live overseas permanently will still be separated from friends and whānau, like grandparents wanting to meet grandchildren for the first time. We should not be disconnecting people from support during this global pandemic,” says Max Harris, a UK-based spokesperson for the Team of Six Million.
“While there are mechanisms for the charges to be waived, we would like to see more detail and clarity on behalf of those affected. Kiwis who already face significant distress will now have to deal with a regime that is complicated, costly to administer, and which will raise little revenue.”
A survey conducted by the Team of Six Million Facebook group showed that 42% of the reasons given by Kiwis returning on a temporary basis were related to care, support, and connection with family members in NZ, especially elderly or unwell relatives.
“There is also a serious risk that the Government’s fees regime is a breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The Government still hasn’t explained how the process of consultation it has followed or the substance of the legislation is consistent with Te Tiriti - and we would like to see an explanation,” says Luke Claasen, a UK-based spokesperson for the Team of Six Million.
“We continue to oppose the introduction of quarantine fees, which are inconsistent with the usual approach to public health, and propose that the Government holds off on finalising regulations until after the election when there is time for proper consultation and consideration.”
To find out more about the Team of Six Million, visit the Team of Six Million Facebook group here or join the conversation on Twitter by via the hashtag #TeamOfSixMillion.