No Minister

Advice to Kiwis returning home

with 8 comments

As sorry as I have felt for the thousands of Kiwis stranded overseas, desperate to return home, but stymied by the MIQ lottery system, it seems that there are legal ways around it.

As far as I know the rather clever and wonderfully nasty lawyer, Cactus Kate, first put forward this argument back on November 18, 2021 with her post How To Get Home For Christmas…. Even then it appears she was piggy backing off a series of Mathew Hooton Tweets and judging from the comments there were more than a few people already aware of it. I can only guess that many people did not want it to be further advertised.

However, with yesterday’s announcement from the government that MIQ booking is going to be “temporarily” closed because of the approaching Omicron Terror (announced via Tweet), it appears that lawyers have decided to start publicising this method, starting with one Tudor Clee in a guest post at Kiwiblog: Are Kiwis too scared to come home? The border is wide open.

Tudor Clee is apparently an Auckland based Barrister who assisted 30 pregnant couples through the MIQ system including filing 8 Judicial Reviews pro bono to obtain MIQ vouchers.

The basic strategy is no different than that outlined earlier; you buy an airline ticket transiting through Auckland to somewhere else (Fiji, LA), then just change your mind after landing in Auckland and decide not to fly on. As a New Zealand citizen you can’t be deported or anything else, just escorted to your lovely MIQ waiting area.

But her article contains more detail on what’s involved here, especially the stunts pulled by the government on all this. As she says:

No citizen is stopped entering. Let me say this one more time, no citizen is stopped entering.

In other words, despite various claims, the Labour government is not breaching Section 18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 – being the right to enter New Zealand.

So how have they managed to avoid that, while also “stopping” thousands of Kiwis returning as is their right?

The first course of action was to provide misleading information on their own websites.

This page discusses transiting in New Zealand. It states:

“You can only transit New Zealand through Auckland International Airport, where you must stay in the transit area of the airport. You cannot apply to enter New Zealand.”

It doesn’t provide an asterisk to advise New Zealand citizens that they don’t need to ‘apply’ to enter New Zealand and cannot be held in a transit area. The ambiguity helps maintain the falsehood that the border is shut to Kiwis.

The second course of action is to maintain the high level of fear for all travellers. One person told me her friend said the transit passengers were ‘escorted by armed Police’ as if to ensure no one make’s a break for it.  

Clever, clever. As she points out, most people just are not familiar with the law, but “armed Police” aside the simple fact is that the government cannot criminalise a citizen just for entering the country:

If a Police Officer of Immigration Officer attempted to ‘hold’ a citizen in a transit lounge they would at best only be sued for false imprisonment and likely fired – and at worst criminally prosecuted for kidnapping. 

She also deals to frightening threat of being fined $1000 for “infringing” the system – entering without an MIQ voucher:

A breach of a requirement where the worst potential outcome of the breach is a possibility of transmitting or spreading COVID-19 or limiting the capability of the public health response, which does not otherwise meet the description for low risk or high risk.

How this is arrived at is not explained.  Every single traveller has a ‘worst potential outcome’ of transmitting COVID as we have seen with foreign DJ’s who freely enter the country, break the rules and even then are still not prosecuted.

It also doesn’t ‘limit’ the public health response – it makes use of it.  MIQ was set up for overseas citizens returning – and these are overseas citizens returning.

In my view the infringement is challengeable in Court – paying a fine to enter your own country, or for the Government’s failure to plan a public health response 2 years into a pandemic, doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would hold up in court.

Ms Clee has apparently decided that enough is enough in the wake of yesterday’s bullshit announcement and decided to start publicising this legal work-around as far and as wide as possible in the face of MSM and Social Media (meaning FaceTwit) indifference or compliance with silence on the issue.

Actually now that I think about it, don’t National and ACT have some rather clever lawyers working for them? Haven’t they figured this out yet, and if so, why haven’t they promoted this? A stick in the eye for the Labour government and the gratitude of thousands of returning Kiwis, plus their rellies here in NZ. Luxon and Seymour could even meet them when they’re finally released from MIQ: what a TV and photo opportunity that would be.

Consider this post as No Minister helping in that effort. If you have rellies stuck overseas, spread the word.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 19, 2022 at 11:44 am

8 Responses

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  1. This nonsense will only stop when Kiwi’s stop respecting laws that are unjust and unethical.


    January 19, 2022 at 11:56 am

    • The best is that top lawyers for herald and stuff agreed it’s not unlawful to walk into your own country. So this isn’t even a loophole it’s just the law


      January 29, 2022 at 9:52 pm

  2. Ardern’s duplicity exposed (yet again). More holes in the system than a Swiss cheese.

    The Veteran

    January 19, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    • Duplicity, incompetence or both?


      January 19, 2022 at 2:49 pm

  3. Tudor is a bloke (he/him).

    Nick K

    January 19, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    • Meh. They / them.

      Tom Hunter

      January 19, 2022 at 7:17 pm

      • Hi Tom I’m ok with the wrong gender. But for the record I advised Hooton and Cactus after grounded kiwis censored my article and they happily wrote about it.


        January 29, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    • Grounded Kiwis censored your article? WTF?? Why?

      Nick K

      January 30, 2022 at 2:25 pm

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