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Green Party protects stranded Kiwis from $3000 fee for coming home

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Green Party are ensuring that New Zealanders who were overseas when COVID-19 hit will not be charged for the cost of isolation or quarantine if they return home to live.

"The Green Party are making sure Kiwis who need to return to New Zealand to live are not charged a $3000 fee," Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said today.

"Kiwis who are returning to New Zealand temporarily can have a fee waived on compassionate grounds or if they’re experiencing financial hardship.

"As a country, we should be supporting people to come home if that is what is needed for their wellbeing. New Zealand is their home and they have a right to come back.

"Kiwis overseas are facing job losses, financial insecurity, and not knowing when they’ll see their families again. Now is not the time to be making things harder for our people overseas.

"There is of course a balance, and for people choosing to leave New Zealand for overseas holidays or business trips from now on, it’s only fair they contribute to the cost of isolation when they return. It is also fair that Kiwis who choose to come back for a short trip, but it is not for compassionate reasons and they have the money to contribute, should do so."

Green Party Immigration spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said today:

"New Zealanders should be able to come home if they want to. The Green Party does not support policy which could stop people coming back because they can’t afford to pay.

"It would have always been incredibly unfair to charge New Zealanders overseas who had left New Zealand before it was clear a returning cost would be imposed.

"We’ve heard the distress of New Zealanders overseas, for whom the cost of quarantine would be a huge barrier to return.

"Safe and effective isolation and quarantine measures are a public health response, and benefit our whole community. Our effort to protect New Zealanders who need to come home to live, plus provisions for struggling New Zealanders who need to come back temporarily, is a win for all of us."

Under the proposed policy:

- New Zealanders returning home to live will not be charged.

- New Zealanders who want to return home for a short period of time who are experiencing financial hardship will have an instalment-based payment plan available, and there will be discretion to waive all fees on compassionate grounds.

- New Zealanders who will be charged are those who want to come back temporarily, and are not experiencing financial or personal hardship.

- New Zealanders who decided to leave for a business trip or holiday of fewer than 90 days will be charged.

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