National Party and Grey Power call for tough measures; Indian community says name and shame
Auckland, July 12, 2020
The National Party is right in saying that the increasing number of new arrivals from overseas escaping from the isolation facilities is putting all other New Zealanders to health risk.
There have been four instances this week, which have angered all sections of the population.
Irresponsible and selfish
The first was a person from India who left the Stamford Plaza Hotel to visit a nearby supermarket, the second was a man from the UK who escaped from Sudima Hotel Rotorua and the third was a 50-year-old man who cut through a fence to break out of an isolation facility in Hamilton.
The fourth was a man who fled from Waipuna Hotel in Mt Wellington in Auckland.
All of them face charges of breaching the provisions of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and can face a prison term up to six months or a fine of $4000.
And there have been cases of people who were officially allowed to go out of their facilities to attend to their ailing relatives or funerals.
National attacks government
National Party MP Spokesperson for Covid Recovery Amy Adams said that New Zealanders had the right to expect the government to contain people from getting out of quarantine facilities.
She criticised the government as inept.
“It should not be beyond the capacity of the government and public service to do that. It is a failure from the top down and despite repeated assurances that they are on it and things will be different, now this stuff keeps happening,” she said.
Ms Adams called for a zero tolerance approach to any chance of public contamination from any New Zealander returning from overseas.
“We need to do whatever security and whatever restrictions are required,” she said.
Old and vulnerable at risk
Grey Power President Mac Welch has been quoted by Radio New Zealand as saying that he and his organisation were enraged by the ‘stupid and dangerous behaviour’ of people fleeing managed isolation facilities.
Describing the conduct of the escapees as ‘shocking,’ he said that their actions risked the spread of Covid-19, especially among the elderly people, who are vulnerable.
“They are playing with the lives of people; they are playing with all the hard work that the citizens of New Zealand put into containing Covid-19 and beating it,” he said.
Mr Welch said that none of the soft, cuddly, touchy rubbish that we keep seeing continuously with these people – they should be hammed to the full extent of the law.
“It is just so wrong; it infuriates me and I am sure a lot of other Kiwis. If these people, who have been looked after and waited on hand and foot abuse the privilege, lock them up,” he said.
Police Association criticises government
The government announced earlier in the week that all hotels and managed-isolation facilities will be guarded by the Police.
Even as arrangements were being made the New Zealand Police Association President Chris Cahill criticised the government saying that it was turning officers into babysitters.
It is a waste of police resources; it is not policing, he said.
“This is about giving political surety, for the government to cover themselves, rather than actual security. I am not sure if the balance is right,” he said.
Name and shame
Many Indian community leaders have asked the government to not only apply all the provisions of the law and punish the offenders but also name and shame them.
“All of us in New Zealand have sacrificed to free our country of Covid-19. These people arriving from various highly Covid-19 infected countries have clearly shown that they no have no respect for us or our laws. They must be named and shamed in public,” Ilango Krishnamoorthy, a leader of the South Auckland community said.
Citizens cannot be ‘repatriated’
There have been angry callers at talkback shows asking the government to send back the offending people to ‘from where they came.’
But such a move would not be possible. Many countries including India, Singapore, Malaysia and the Arab Gulf (to name a few) do not have Dual Citizenship and hence people from these countries should surrender their passports as soon as they become citizens of another country.
They therefore have the right to stay in New Zealand.
But they should face the consequences of their actions in this country.