Pregnant Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis offered MIQ spot

Source: 1News

Pregnant New Zealander Charlotte Bellis has been offered a room in managed isolation with a flight arranged, the Deputy Prime Minister said on Tuesday.

Grant Robertson announced the development at Tuesday's post-Cabinet briefing, after Bellis' high-profile struggle with gaining a spot in New Zealand's MIQ made headlines around the world.

"The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have offered her a voucher today, and they have flight arrangements which I obviously won't give out, that they have set up with her.

"There is a place in MIQ for Ms Bellis and I urge her to take it up."

Bellis, who is pregnant and currently living in Afghanistan, issued a statement after hearing the news.

"We are so excited to return home and to be surrounded by family and friends at such a special time," Bellis said.

"We want to thank New Zealanders for their overwhelming support. It has been stressful and your kind words and encouragement helped Jim and I immensely.

"We are disappointed it had to come to this."

READ MORE: Afghanistani mother responds to pregnant Kiwi journalist's plea

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins responded to Bellis yesterday and said she was offered consular assistance twice.

Tudor Clee, the lawyer for Bellis, said they were "looking at options", calling Hipkins’ comments an unusual breach of privacy, that permission was not asked and that statement was not correct.

Acting Privacy Commissioner Liz MacPherson said despite a person speaking to media about their situation, it "does not, in itself, provide authorisation for the Minister to disclose additional personal information about the individual".

"A Minister should only release personal information that the individual has not already made public if the individual has clearly authorised such disclosure, or if an exception to information privacy principle 11 applies.

"This principle relates to the disclosure of personal information and includes some exceptions such as where disclosure without authorisation is necessary to prevent a serious threat to individual or public health and safety."