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The mother jailed for absconding from a Hamilton isolation hotel says she spent the best part of seven days locked up in a cell on her own without a television.
"I was not put in a normal unit with other prisoners. I was actually isolated from other prisoners. I felt really alone, I didn't think it was fair," she said.
The woman said the prison authorities said she was put in an isolation cell because she had stated she was experiencing symptoms of Covid, but that was untrue.
She took a Covid test on the second day in jail and a negative result did not come back for four days when she was moved to a normal cell half a day before her release.
The woman, who with four of her children jumped a fence to escape the hotel facility because they wanted to see the children's father's body before his funeral, believes she has unfairly been made an example of.
She blames the Government for her predicament, and yesterday attended a protest of a few thousand people in central Auckland that took aim at the Government's use of lockdown and other Covid-19 restrictions.
The woman was due to speak at the rally alongside Advance Party co-leaders Jami-Lee Ross and Bill Te Kahika.
At the last minute she decided not to speak because of a court decision that means she cannot be named, to protect the identity of her children, two of whom are minors.
Her short speech, provided to The New Zealand Herald, lashed out at the "incompassionate Government" and its dishonest behaviour towards freedom, democracy and transparency.
The woman said there were other options to going to jail, saying she could have been fined or given community work.
She and three of her children, aged 18, 17 and 16, were jointly charged with failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.
The family was accused of forcing their way through a window before scaling a fence.
Most were quickly apprehended near Hamilton's Distinction Hotel but one teenager among the group made it all the way to Auckland.
At the time, the mother took to social media and denied the move was "premeditated" in any way, and insisted she understood the health risk to the public and had worn a mask while on the loose.
"With how it has all turned out, I do have regrets. I now have a conviction ... it has taken a toll on my children. But in saying that, I also did not think it would get to this point," the mother said today.
The Herald is seeking comment from the Department of Corrections and Health Minister Chris Hipkins.