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Primary school teacher Kim Kennedy, of Oamaru, who has been in Newcastle for more than five weeks, said she would not be able to get a flight home until September.
New Zealanders stuck in New South Wales have until Friday to get on a managed return flight before the transtasman bubble fully closes for at least two months.
Many already have, but an unknown number are stuck in New South Wales with no route home because the country’s managed and isolation quarantine facilities (MIQ) are fully booked until August 6.
Mrs Kennedy, who understood there was a risk in travelling, felt it was necessary to visit her mother, who had since died.
Mrs Kennedy was prepared to wait a few weeks and pay for MIQ, but did not expect such a long delay for a flight.
There were flights leaving from other areas of Australia, but people in NSW could not get out, she said.
Three of her flights had been cancelled and she received conflicting information every time she tried to organise another.
"I’ve been given no solution."
Being part of New Zealand’s "team of five million" was not reflected in the reality of the situation, she said.
"I’m trying to do my part. How about the rest of them do their part and let me come home."
Her husband and mother-in-law were "fabulously" organised, but the stress was affecting her family.
Her two children had just lost their grandmother and were now stuck without their mother, she said.
Mrs Kennedy was the primary caregiver for her eldest child, who had suffered a brain injury.
She was fortunate to have somewhere to stay, but the situation was not sustainable, she said.
"Unless you’re a multimillionaire, this is a strain."
She could feel the unrest in the NSW community and people were becoming more unsettled.
It was starting to feel like being stuck in a war zone, she said.
"I just want to come home to my babies."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said officials were working through another cohort of spaces for those who still needed to get back.
"It won’t be before August 6 but what we’re investigating is whether there’s the ability to bring in additional capacity to meet that demand because we know there’s extraordinary stress for those in New South Wales right now."
Ms Ardern said the Government was liaising with airlines about more flights and she had been advised there was still a small number available for those in exceptional circumstances.
She said the promise of getting everyone home still stood.
Some 21,000 New Zealanders have travelled to Australia without returning since borders were opened, but the Government does not known how many want to fly back.
"What we have committed to though is that for every flight that’s made available, it books out straightaway and there’s extra demand.
"We will keep working with the airlines to ensure there’s extra flights until we’ve extinguished that demand."
National Party Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop said people in New South Wales were in an information-vacuum, including one family he had spoken to who had three flights cancelled.
He said people were in "very difficult and trying circumstances".
Mr Bishop said the Government needed to create an information portal to streamline information for those stuck in New South Wales and co-ordinate better with airlines to free up as many flights as possible.
- Additional reporting RNZ