Coronavirus Covid 19: frustration for Kiwis stranded in New South Wales who missed flights

NSW registers 112 community cases of Covid-19 as experts call for even tighter lockdown restrictions. Video / The morning show

By Liu Chen from RNZ

New Zealanders stranded in Australia are increasingly frustrated as return flights are taken moments after they go on sale. Reservations opened at 10am today for tomorrow’s flights on the Air New Zealand website, but they were all gone within 15 minutes.

The Auckland Cam man traveled to Australia for a short work trip in late June, just before the travel bubble break was announced.

Based just outside Sydney, he has already had four different return flights canceled due to developments.

He said it was chaotic when he tried to book this morning – no flights are available for the next few days.

“The site obviously kept loading or reloading each time. You would partially succeed in a reservation, then get knocked down, so I guess it was just people reserving seats further away than me,” he said. he declared.

A woman walks through a normally busy Sydney street.  Photo / AP
A woman walks through a normally busy Sydney street. Photo / AP

The government said people with existing return bookings who were waiting the longest would be given priority. However, Cam said he had never heard of the so-called Priority List and the lack of information was staggering.

“I haven’t had any contact with anyone from anywhere. I must have made a lot of phone calls and guess I don’t expect to have my hand, but the information has been fairly light on the land regarding the reservation or come home and then leave it to Air New Zealand to secure a slot in MIQ. “

While the bubble was on travelers, the government could do better, Cam said.

“Cancel flights at the 11th hour and constantly change … I’m lucky to have accommodation and to be able to support myself, but there are a lot of other people who don’t seem to be. in this situation and there doesn’t seem to be a big push to bring people home. ”


Air New Zealand said there were only 40 to 60 seats per flight available on the nine flights over the next 10 days, as they were tied to limited space at MIQ.

This encouraged people to keep checking back as more seats would be available when more managed isolation allowances were provided.

Travel Agents Association chairman Brent Thomas said the instant sale of round-trip tickets from Sydney showed more MIQ seats and flights were needed.

“Health comes first. This is the most important thing at this stage, but it shows that we need a clear plan for these kinds of events, but also that we need a clear plan for when we are fully vaccinated so that we can travel freely, ”he said.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said 1,000 rooms were available over the next fifteen weeks and after that they would drop to around 500 for the transtasman eventuality.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The additional rooms were obtained by suspending the maintenance of some rooms and relaxing the rules for admitting groups, he said.

“Keeping in mind that the cohort is only recent and we have been very successful in containing Covid-19 without it, but this is an extra layer of protection that we would like to return to as quickly as possible.

“We can do 1000 rooms in the next fifteen weeks, then it will be something closer to 500 rooms for transtasman. Beyond that, as long as we have to do it in order to get people back home. “

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Australian returnees are not going to compete with New Zealanders returning from other parts of the world for MIQ spaces.

The government has said anyone attempting to enter New Zealand by traveling from New South Wales via another Australian state will immediately be placed in an isolation facility operated at their own expense, and a fine could also be imposed. inflicted.

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