INDEPENDENT NEWS

Statement From Minister Chris Hipkins On Charlotte Bellis

Published: Wed 22 Jun 2022 02:14 PM
On 31 January I released a statement regarding Charlotte Bellis and her MIQ application.
I stated that emergency allocation criteria includes a requirement to travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days. Whilst it was generally a requirement for applications to be made within 14 days of travel the MIQ guidelines did have an exception to this requirement. I have since been made aware that Ms Bellis was relying on special circumstances in respect of her application as she was in Afghanistan and that MIQ deactivated her application in error.
In addition I stated that I also understand she was offered New Zealand consular assistance twice since she returned to Afghanistan in early December but has not responded. Again, I encourage her to take up any offers of assistance.
I have subsequently been made aware that these comments were not accurate.
Ms Bellis was contacted once in August, and once in December whilst in Europe. In August she was not pregnant and communicated she did not need assistance. In December she was not in Afghanistan and it followed the Government’s announcement that the border would reopen to NZ citizens in February when she planned to return ahead of her child’s birth.
Ms. Bellis had not previously been offered, nor ever refused, an MIQ spot.
On 15 March I wrote to Ms Bellis apologising for the errors in my comments, and the inclusion of personal information in the statement and for the subsequent distress it caused her.

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