A New Zealand-born woman living in England and her British husband are “heartbroken” the Government will be seeking to introduce new rules to charge returnees for their Covid-19 quarantine stays for short trips.
Whangārei-born Kellee Peita-Read wanted to fly to New Zealand with her husband Rob next month to spend time with her father, who is unwell.
“This new policy and the korero that's happened around the policy, it's made me really disappointed and disheartened and heartbroken,” she said.
It comes as the Government sought to implement co-payment for Covid-19 managed isolation and quarantine costs, putting a $3100 price tag on some people entering the country for less than 90 days.
Managed isolation and quarantine facilities at the border are set to cost taxpayers almost half a billion dollars this year.
Meanwhile, the UK Home Office granted foreign nationals an extension on their visas. For people whose visas were due to expire tomorrow, they’ve been given until the end of August to leave.
If the Peita-Reads wanted to return home, it would cost them more than $4000.
Ms Peita-Read said charges for Kiwis to return home would be on top of the already exorbitant airfares common in the post-Covid world where flights were cancelled and refunds weren’t quick.
The couple also hit back at commentary often seen online that Kiwis overseas were wealthy and could afford the costs of paying for their managed isolation and quarantine.
The pair is relying on Ms Peita-Read’s primary teacher’s salary after Rob lost his job.
“We're not living the high life here, especially if you're out of work,” Mr Peita-Read said.
Some people didn’t want to speak to 1 NEWS for fear of online vitriol and abuse.
“It's really hurtful,” Ms Peita-Read said of people’s comments online.
“Just because we leave New Zealand does not mean New Zealand leaves us.”
She added: “Just be kind. We need to be kind to one another.”