No way out of NSW, no answers

 Kim Kennedy and her late mother Patricia Robinson, holding her dog Furby earlier this year....
Kim Kennedy and her late mother Patricia Robinson, holding her dog Furby earlier this year. Photo: Supplied
An Otago woman stuck in New South Wales is upset at the lack of communication and her inability to get home to her family.

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

Comments

"Mrs Kennedy, who understood there was a risk in travelling". She elected to take the gamble, and she lost. She should have left the moment the first case was announced but she didn't, and now she wants special treatment.
How come her mother lived in Newcastle? Is Mrs kennedy an Australian by any chance? The article does not describe her as a New Zealand Citizen.
She says she's part of the team of 5 million, but that isn't true, when she left the country, she left the team. I'm a proud Kiwi, but I am not part of the team of 5 million because I am in Australia.
We need to know if Mrs Kennedy is an Australian Citizen, because if she is, she should be whining at the incompetent NSW and Federal Governments who caused this problem. Australia caused this mess, get Australia to fix it, they have no problem deporting Kiwis all the time, just get them to deport her if she is a Kiwi.

Her mother died, she is separated from her kids and she just wants to come home.
Put yourself in her shoes, no you clearly are not able to do that.
Show a little compassion, no you clearly can't do that either.

Reading posts like yours, and social media is rife with them, makes me despair about the humanity of some Kiwis.

Everybody's an expert eh, you don't know her situation, her mother could have been on her death bed when closure was announced, you expected her to just up and leave her dying mother?.....

Yes, it looks like her mother was passing away. The urge to be there to support and farewell her mum would have been all-consuming, and most people would go to their dying parent. But it was a risk, people were told the government couldn't help if things went wrong; that they could go wrong at any time ... and the dice rolled the wrong way. I feel sad for her. I hope she has free accommodation. But it is the way it is. Quarantine accommodation is limited --- people who left for Australian trips/holidays far outnumber the spaces in quarantine available. She isn't being "excluded" from the "team of 5 million". We were all warned leaving to go to Australia carried risks that returning would be very difficult and very delayed during this international crisis. Why should people traveling voluntarily to Australia be prioritized over other New Zealanders already stuck desparately waiting in other countries? People all around the world are suffering, unable to come home.

I do feel a wee bit sorry for her but she should have had plans in place for this very situation. She knew she was taking a risk before she went. It is Aussie's who have caused this situation and the NZ Govt are trying to assist however there is only so much they can do remembering every Aussie State has different rules

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