Jacinda Ardern increases quarantine fee; New Zealand citizens question her empathy

WION Web Team
Dunedin, New Zealand Published: Mar 25, 2021, 09:30 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in New Zealand Photograph:( AFP )

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Where's Jacinda Ardern's empathy for Kiwis returning to New Zealand, ask people after an increase in quarantine fee

In a bid to help the government meet the costs of managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ), the New Zealand government has doubled the time the returning citizens are required to stay to avoid the massive quarantine fee.

The New Zealand government charges a $3,100 quarantine fee, as of now and has increased the quarantine time from three months to six months now.

This decision has been taken by the Jacinda Ardern-led government to make the MIQ system "more financially sustainable".

However, this decision has faced backlash from New Zealand citizens living abroad who have criticised the government for not thinking about the financial burden this imposes on those wanting to return back to the country.

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People visiting from areas such as the US and Canada have expressed disappointment and frustration as they claim they are already paying nearly $3,000 for air expenses, with the addition of $270 for a pre-departure test.

"Switching it to six months is just undoable with the extra cost of MIQ [managed isolate and quarantine] – it puts it out of reach to go home before this thing is over, which seems to be the point of it all," Owen Williams, a New Zealand citizen living in Canada was quoted by Guardian. "The message is loud and clear: even if you’re a citizen, unless you’re wealthy, don’t come back."

Citizens, who were working abroad or were stuck overseas, have urged the government to think about the people who were hoping to return to New Zealand and work from home temporarily or work in the country. 

As of now, citizens struggle to find a spot for a quarantine period which requires online booking that fills up within seconds of availability. Several Facebook groups have also popped up where people are helping others to find a way around the system and negotiate MIQ bookings.

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