To all Dutch New Zealanders,
While we work from home, walk in empty streets, wait in lines to do our shopping in supermarkets in compliance with the 2 m social distancing, life in New Zealand and the rest of the world seems to be on hold. No plans are made, many worry about their health, the health of vulnerable relatives here and in The Netherlands, and what the future will bring for their jobs and business.
Health should be priority nr 1 and I would like to stress to be very cautious, stay home and follow the advice of the NZ Government which is published in media and the website www.covid19.govt.nz
Also many Dutch travelers experience stress and anxiety as they got stuck in New Zealand due to the rapidly evolving situation in this country over the last two weeks.
At the Embassy in Wellington and at the Ministry in the Netherlands we are working around the clock to find solutions for the many Dutch stranded travelers here in New Zealand. We are updating our online channels with relevant updates from either the New Zealand or Dutch Government and we have been in contact with many stranded travelers by phone and/or email. Some people experienced several cancellations of flights or had great difficulties to find affordable self-contained accommodation to comply with the self-isolation measures under COVID-19 alert level 4.
I would like to thank you all for the solidarity you have demonstrated by offering so swiftly and generously temporary housing to stranded Dutch travelers in New Zealand!
Many of you also helped to take into their own home relatives or friends from the Netherlands that could no longer stay in holiday accommodation and have to wait longer to return home, especially in the South Island.
In this current situation of COVID-19 alert level 4, people face serious problems to arrive at confirmed international flights. This is due to measures set by the NZ Government to temporarily suspend access to domestic air travel in New Zealand. Repatriation and charter flights are temporarily suspended as well. We are working hard with our international partners to find a solution. However in the meantime all travelers need longer term suitable and affordable self-contained accommodation that complies with the NZ regulations for self-isolation.
Therefore I call on all of you who can offer self-contained temporary housing to Dutch travelers to present their offer at social media platforms that connect Dutch in New Zealand such as Dutch in NZ and Gestrande Nederlanders in Nieuw Zeeland to bring supply and demand together.
There are no quick and easy solutions to bring them back and for many other challenging issues we face during this period. We can only do our best to show solidarity with people around us, help each other, pay attention to people who feel lonely at home and by doing so, unite against COVID-19.
I cannot thank you enough for your kind support and the offers of help we have received.
Please take good care of yourself and don’t forget to call and check upon people around you. We are all in this together.
Be Kind, Stay Safe and Healthy!
Mira Woldberg – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to New Zealand