New Zealanders Overseas Talk Being Behind Borders
When Jacinda Ardern closed New Zealand’s borders, chasing a zero-Covid policy, many New Zealanders were effectively locked out of their own country, Molly Codyre writes, having interviewed “those left behind” for an article published in the UK’s The Independent.
New Zealand has been applauded both domestically and internationally for its handling of the pandemic. Most overseas-based Kiwis, however, feel this success has come at their expense, Codyre writes. Many have faced job losses, family illness or death and have still been unable to return, the emergency allocation process denying them a specially allocated spot when normal spaces were no longer available. Below is just one of the innumerable stories that were shared with Codyre, she reports. There were multiple commonalities throughout people’s situations. Many shared a belief that their need to return wasn’t as urgent as others – even when it involved death or serious family illness – and no one was granted emergency placement, regardless of the emotional or financial gravity of their situation (according to the MBIE, 2684 people have been granted an emergency spot since October 2020).
Michelle Rice and her family moved to the UK in 2006 for her husband’s job. A recent diagnosis of PoTS (a blood flow condition), a desire for their kids to have a New Zealand childhood and the need to care for elderly parents has meant the Rice family has been hoping to move back.
“We want to be near our ageing family and extended whanau. We’re desperate to go home,” Rice tells the newspaper.
Another told Codyre of, she writes, their pain at potentially never seeing their elderly dad again. “The fear of never seeing or hugging my father ever again gets harder and heavier to bear as the days and weeks pass by,” they said. “There are no words to describe the anguish.”
Original article by Molly Codyre, The Independent, September 25, 2021.
Photo by Luke Stackpoole.