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Women’s human rights and the vulnerability of pregnant women

Written By: - Date published: 12:57 pm, January 31st, 2022 - 211 comments
Categories: feminism, human rights - Tags: , , ,

There’s a lot being said by and about Charlotte Bellis, the pregnant woman stuck in Afghanistan and trying to get back to New Zealand. What I want to talk about here is not Bellis so much as the vulnerability of pregnant women and women’s human rights.

(Bellis’ own account and a statement from the government on the case and MiQ were in the Herald).

Firstly, women do the heavy lifting of keeping the human species going. We provide all the workers for the economy and society in general. We do so at risk to our bodies and health, and the rest of our lives. We also do most of the childrearing and associated activities. Nearly all of that is unpaid.

We don’t yet have universal human rights specific to our bodies, and that is because the default template for humans is still male in most societies. Think abortion, access to contraception, or even things like period products. Tools are often made to fit male bodies, university courses are designed around males needs (where is the free childcare? why isn’t breastfeeding normalised?), as is parliament, and medical research is still biased towards male as the norm.

In the West we are now being told that being female is largely irrelevant and that we have to share our hard won rights with gender dysphoric men, or those that want to use identity to escape the burdens of being male. Men identifying as women can now hold women’s positions in political parties, which puts our ability to further the political needs of women at risk.

The point here is to point to the fragility of women’s human rights. I also mention this aspect because of the similarities in misogyny in both responses to the Bellis case and in gender identity activism: it’s ok to hate women if you feel you have a good reason. In both cases this misogyny is often invisible to liberals. That these two paragraphs make me persona non grata in many liberal spaces is QED.

Meanwhile, in countries like Afghanistan, women have lost rights at an alarming rate in the past year thanks to the Taliban and the uselessness of the rest of the world in taking action.

Here are some statistics.

Maternal mortality rate by country: maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. NZ has nine deaths, and is ranked 36th, a still weirdly high number for a developed nation.

Ironically, Qatar also has nine maternal deaths. Qatar is the country that Bellis was resident and working in when she discovered her pregnancy and is the country she had to leave because it is illegal for women in Qatar to be pregnant and unmarried,

It is very important to be aware that it is illegal for an unmarried woman to be pregnant in Qatar. The consequences of the authorities discovering that a single woman is pregnant include jail and deportation, and even physical punishment (lashings) in some extreme circumstances.

For that reason, women who are not married and find themselves pregnant while living in Qatar should plan to head for home, or to another country. As a marriage certificate is required to have access to maternity care, even getting married after conception will not resolve the situation. Unmarried women who do leave Qatar due to becoming pregnant may also face problems if they return to Qatar after giving birth.

This is the country that some New Zealanders have been saying Bellis should have stayed in rather than throwing a tanty to get back to New Zealand.

Afghanistan, where Bellis currently resides because she had so few options, is ranked 177th and has 638 women dying for very 100,000 babies born. Bellis is a journalist who has been covering the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. In her piece in the Herald she said,

I thought about sending them a story I did in October at a maternity hospital in Kabul where they had no power so were delivering by cell phones at night. They couldn’t do caesarean deliveries and the only medicine they had were tabs of paracetamol wrapped in crinkled newspaper. The hospital staff said even those would run out in a month’s time. The UN wrote recently that they expect an extra 50,000 women will die during childbirth in Afghanistan by 2025 because of the state of maternity care. Note “extra” – the total will be closer to 70,000.

Here, getting pregnant can be a death sentence.

The rights that women have are often under pressure of being removed. Obviously with abortion rights in the United States for instance. Less obviously where funding for maternity services is lessened. Or in this case, not adequately protecting pregnant women overseas.

Bellis says her lawyer has represented 30 pregnant women who were refused entry to MiQ in New Zealand. We don’t know the details of most of those, but it’s clear from Bellis’ case that being pregnant is an insufficient reason to be granted emergency repatriation. However being pregnant in a country where there is little developed world maternity care is risky and it’s not hard to see how waiting until an acute emergency arises is a massive fail: you don’t want a woman with pre-eclampsia having to board multiple flights to get from the Middle East to a New Zealand hospital.

Twitter, as usual, succinctly,

The New Zealand MiQ system has all sorts of flaws that should have been sorted a long time ago. But this is a particular issue that strikes me as being more deeply embedded in values. Pregnant women should be given priority, and the degree of scorn and hate directed at Bellis in the past few days suggests we don’t actually value pregnant women that much. Bellis is apparently a moaning, over-privileged white woman who just happens to be pregnant, and our condemnation is more important than valuing pregnant women or upholding their rights.

Whereas I see a woman using her privilege to raise an issue that progressives should be yelling at the top of their voices about. Belli’s lawyer, Tudor Clee, at NewstalkZB,

It’s not only the expectant mothers we need to worry about either — it’s the one we’ve let down already.

“A New Zealand woman was told at the High Court she was not allowed to come back and give birth in New Zealand in spite of having an Australian hospital writing a one page letter saying she was suffering from severe anxiety, depression, and that the baby was underweight and it was essential for her to have support when her baby was born.

“Her application was denied… That baby is sitting in a NICU unit in Australia. And for that mother, she has no idea when she can even fly back.

“In the same week that decision was made, eight DJs were given a green light to fly to New Zealand,” he said.

“Women’s health has never been a priority in Aotearoa,” Clee said, “Women’s health has always been debatable.”

“Imagine it was an All Black who’s suffered an injury overseas and had the All Black doctor say they must come back to New Zealand and rehab here with their family. If a person with no medical qualifications reviewed the application and said, ‘no they can wait for an unspecified amount of time in whatever country they’re in’ — there would be immediate outrage.

“And yet with pregnant women, we have unqualified people directly overruling doctors, midwives, specialists, psychiatrists in all of the applications that I’ve dealt with.”

In October last year, Stuff reported there had been 229 MIQ applications involving pregnancy — and just 23 approved.

This is bog standard feminism. Women have human rights specific to their sex. Those rights aren’t yet universal and are often undermined even in places like New Zealand that is relatively advanced around feminism. It’s not been surprising to see left wing and liberal men in particular over the weekend prioritise accusations of privilege over the safety and well being of a pregnant woman and her baby. But it is nevertheless astounding and we should be paying attention to the emerging dynamic that it’s ok to hate women if they are wealthy (or white).

This is lefty/progressive/liberal misogyny. One of the arguments in recent days is what was Bellis’ doing in Afghanistan during the pandemic anyway? Well, until recently she was a senior producer in Afghanistan for Al Jazeera, so I assume she’s been doing her job. Is the point that no New Zealand journalists should be working overseas currently? Because I haven’t seen that said before. Or is it just the female ones. Or the apparently wealthy white female ones. These aren’t left wing or progressive values.

I’ve also seen it argued that MiQ is overrun and people need to wait in line, and for Bellis’ to stop complaining. We have an emergency queue for a reason, and if a woman pregnant in a country with poor maternity care doesn’t quality, then there is a big problem with that system.

All women deserve to be safe when pregnant. This includes having access to good maternity care. Pregnancy and childbirth are normal, healthy events, but if shit goes wrong you want help within easy reach. There’s a clear correlation between experiences of safety and birth outcomes. How a society treats its pregnant women and how advanced it is in terms of women’s rights generally is also an issue. Countries with good midwifery services (i.e. services that center the wellbeing of women) tend to be countries that treat women well in other ways.

There’s also a maxim that follows from that, which is that if you centre women in maternity care you get the best outcomes for women, infants and society at large. This is a challenge to neoliberal ideology  that wants to see all humans as the same, and pregnant women are just people who happen to have this other thing going on. But it’s a kind of cultural insanity to believe that pregnant women don’t need specialised care and shouldn’t have rights specific to their bodies.

 

Charlotte Bellis’ story is here. Response from Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Head of MIQ Chris Bunny is at the bottom of the same link.

Bellis also posted an update on twitter this morning.

Note: if you want to comment on this post, please provide evidence for any claims of fact. This means an explanation of your point, appropriate quotes and links. This is doubly so for anything being said about Charlotte Bellis. You must provide support for your assertions at the time of commenting. Expect to be moderated if you don’t. This isn’t FB, nor a rumour mill, we have a high standard of debate expectation here. Robust debate is welcome. I will also moderate for overt sexism and misogyny. 

211 comments on “Women’s human rights and the vulnerability of pregnant women ”

  1. Sabine 1

    Thank you for writing this really important post.

  2. Anker 2

    Absolutely wonderful article Weka. You nailed it!

  3. Puckish Rogue 3

    'Pokes head in, looks around, takes into account the temperature of the room'

    Good post, our people need to come home and priority should be given for those needing medical help.

    Especially pregnant women.

    'Closes door on way out'

  4. Belladonna 4

    Absolutely agree that the treatment of pregnant women through the MIQ system has been shameful. Bellis is only the latest example (and one who has the 'privilege' of a media platform).
    This first came to my attention in August of last year, with the case of Bergen Graham – who was not only pregnant, but had a high risk pregnancy (diagnosed by obstetricians)

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018809856/pregnant-nz-woman-declined-miq-emergency-spot-six-times

    It seems as though MBIE have been using a strategy of magically 'finding' an MIQ space each time a woman in this situation takes a court case, so that they never have a court ruling against their policy, and therefore never have to revise it.

    "The case never made it to court. Within a day of filing the claim, Graham’s application – which had been rejected six times – was approved. "

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/126478846/miqueue-is-it-legal-to-stop-new-zealanders-coming-home

    [scroll down to the bottom of the link for the discussion]

    The current emergency allocation criteria are overly bureaucratic (59 documents in Bellis' case were not sufficient), and far too narrow (14 days for an application is much too tight a time-frame for people in more difficult-to-reach areas of the world – let along the mental stress caused by lack of certainty).

    It seems to me (opinion, so no links) that this is the result of the emergency allocation being run by people coming from the immigration portfolio – where they're looking for a reason to reject an application, not a reason to accept it. This was exemplified by MBIE reportedly reaching out to Bellis, and telling her to apply under a different category. If she was eligible under this category, then they should have just automatically granted the application.

    • weka 4.1

      that last paragraph makes so much sense.

      One very easy, interim fix is to just create a new category for pregnant women. Someone could write that policy today.

    • mpledger 4.2

      But the govt needs evidence to show she could come in under that provision, not just their reckons.

      • Descendant Of Smith 4.2.1

        Nah. We, the public, have been told constantly, and there has been screeds of literature written on this, that part of the point of the reforms of the 80's was to increase accountability and to move us away from the well established, served us well for 50 years bureaucratic public service where consistency and rules were the way the public service operated. It was simple in a simpler world – you had to do X to get something and you either did meet X or you did not. Both public and government understood their were rules to be followed.

        Increased accountability and increased discretion were things that were supposed to be delivered with the reforms – as well as non-existent cost savings of 30% to 40% by privatising almost everything.

        And yet here we are with what really seems to me an easy decision to make in her circumstances – let her come back into the country to have her baby. This isn't a hard decision.

        The trouble is, is the rise of managerialism, the highly centralised control mechanisms, the target driven mentality and the Helen Clark no surprises PR driven bullshit means managers are unable to make decisions. Rather than accountability there is fear so it is easier to say no and blame the rules. The New Zealand Public are part of the problem because they hate public servants exercising discretion cause you know, there must be rules.

        It is why some of my family have left the public service to work for NGO's – they often do now what needs to be done not just what they are allowed to do by their manager – though often public sector contracts try and force them to only do what is in the contract.

        I've just seen Stuart's post which reinforces what I am saying. The fact that the politicians can't be seen to change the operational decisions is also a problem. Any Minister worth his salt though would say to the public servants – just go let those pregnant women in difficult circumstances back in. Not just this one, all of them.

        "MiQ has hastily thrown together an offer of assistance of some kind, and several people have offered to give up their hard won MiQ spots for her, not doable under the rules"

  5. Kat 5

    I agree with the sentiments of this post especially the comment about the cultural insanity of the neoliberal ideology that in my experience took hold when palliative care went out the window with the baby in 1991 as a result of the 'mother of all budgets'. I also believe the Bellis situation it is not a good look politically, for the govt and by association Jacinda Ardern. It needs to be sorted and with haste.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    Yes, I've been appalled at the lack of sympathy for Bellis on some other forums.

    MiQ has hastily thrown together an offer of assistance of some kind, and several people have offered to give up their hard won MiQ spots for her, not doable under the rules, but indicating a fairly solid belief that pregnant women should not be subjected to the whimsical malice of arbitrary institutional protocol.

    That said, I'm quite ready to believe she is no better than the run of unprofessional muckrakers that daily disgrace her profession here in NZ – but she and her child should not be hostage to petty bureaucracy whether she is a saint, a sinner, or most likely a human being complete with imperfections.

  7. mpledger 7

    Charlotte Bellis application didn't fit within the time-window for the category she applied under – she could either change her flights or apply within the right time-window. Later she was given advice that she should apply under under another category but she didn't want to. She has plenty of choices here about how to get to NZ (change flights time, apply in the right time window, apply under another category) but doesn't seem to want to take any of them.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-charlotte-bellis-an-open-letter-on-miq/U4WQGYTJHUP36AGVOBN3F6PJSE/

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/127641244/journalist-charlotte-bellis-asked-to-apply-for-emergency-miq-under-new-category

    This must be the first time that she has come up against government buracracy and that is really lucky for her but there are very many people who don't have the ear of the media and have to jump through these kind of hoops all the time (I know about 7 people who have come in under emergency provisions). However, the hoops have to be there to try and make it as fair as possible for everyone.

    Do I think she should be let in under the emergency provision when she applies correctly? Yes, I do.

    • weka 7.1

      they should just create a separate category for pregnant women, instead of putting them in with people having a two week emergency.

      • mpledger 7.1.1

        Or she could have bought her flight times forward or applied later. At some point people have to help themselves.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          and the thirty other pregnant women?

          • mpledger 7.1.1.1.1

            I agree that being in Kabul is a reason to get home while pregnant but being pregnant isn't an emergency in itself. So, if I was the one deciding then I'd want to know the details of the cases. There are dangers to pregnant women in flying long distances as well.

    • Blazer 7.2

      You nailed …it.

    • DukeEll 7.3

      Fuck I love this comment. Accurately captures what all the critics of MiQ and MBIE running MiQ have been saying for ages.

      it’s the individuals fault for not applying for the correct emergency exemption category as they don’t know their form 76a from their form 86a. Couldn’t be the heaving behemoth of fuckwittery that is a government department trying to run what is essentially a hotel room aggregator, could it?

      • DukeEll 7.3.1

        To continue, it’s a national disgrace that only 11% of emergency applications by pregnant women are approved emergency 60% of all emergency applications.

      • mpledger 7.3.2

        She may have got it wrong but she has been told where she went wrong so she could reapply. She has been told of an alternative way to apply. It's not like she is shooting in the dark here.

        • DukeEll 7.3.2.1

          Hey, of all the things someone should worry about when pregnant, I agree filling the right emergency application form in is the most important.

          111 for emergencies right? 118 extension 3 if I’m pregnant in a 3rd world country my country of birth is imposing sanctions on, and it’s Tuesday.

          • mpledger 7.3.2.1.1

            Everything here is high stakes which means people have a huge incentive to game the system. I want the people who need help to be identified, not the ones who are gaming the system, and that takes evidence of need.

            People would be equally appalled if someone with no emergency need was able to squeak in because the system wasn't robust enough. And that has a cost to others in the queue too.

            • DukeEll 7.3.2.1.1.1

              It couldn’t be the systems fault that it can’t handle 290 odd citizens of this country about to give birth to new life? No sirree. They should have kept their legs closed according to MBIE and it’s cheerleaders

              • mpledger

                That's not only offensive but untrue. You are putting words into people's mouths that have never been expressed and who aren't allowed to defend themselves.

            • weka 7.3.2.1.1.2

              Everything here is high stakes which means people have a huge incentive to game the system. I want the people who need help to be identified, not the ones who are gaming the system, and that takes evidence of need.

              People would be equally appalled if someone with no emergency need was able to squeak in because the system wasn't robust enough. And that has a cost to others in the queue too.

              I don't think it matters in terms of her repatriation if Bellis' is gaming the system or not. She's pregnant in a country with poor obstetric care. That's enough to let her come home.

              Whatever she's doing or not doing, MiQ can sort it out. But they need to address their system for pregnant women asap.

              • DukeEll

                They need to address the emergency system full stop. unbelievable that you have to cause an absolute brouhaha in the press and be smart enough to do it to make the system understand that being pregnant in a 3rd world country under extreme sanctions doesn't qualify.

                WTF does?

              • mjpledger

                On one hand people want the system to be simpler and on the other hand people want the system to be more complex (by introducing more categories). It's a no-win situation for the ministries,

                • georgecom

                  broadly, a damned if you do, damned if you don't. so many competing interests on MIQ, someone misses out they feel aggrieved.

  8. Matiri 8

    Charlotte Bellis comments here in October 2021 on the reasons she went back to Afghanistan, and also on the dire conditions there with mention of a major maternity hospital in Kabul.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018818511/nz-journalist-charlotte-bellis-returns-to-afghanistan-it-s-just-life-and-death-on-so-many-levels

  9. arkie 9

    The Government can also do more to help those injured while giving birth. The Greens successfully campaigned for ACC coverage to include those injuries but there are still some limitations on some injuries. Now is the time to make submissions to make sure it is more comprehensive and covers all injuries:

    Last year, we successfully pushed the Government to change the law so parents with birth injuries can receive ACC support. This was an incredible win for women’s health and it will make a real difference to the lives of many new birth parents as they take on the important task of raising our tamariki.

    But there’s a catch.

    The law as it is, only allows some birth injuries to be covered by ACC.

    We believe all parents deserve support for the pain and suffering that can be caused through childbirth, which is why today, we’re again asking for your help.

    Public submissions are now open on this law change, meaning we can all have our say and ask for improvements. Can you take a moment to ask for more comprehensive care for all birth parents?

    https://action.greens.org.nz/all_parents_deserve_support

    • Sabine 9.1

      Parents with birth injuries, pray tell what birth injuries does the man risk?

      This non gendered birthing bullshit is going to get women killed.

      • arkie 9.1.1

        Currently proposed exceptions will be more harmful to women than language use, I would have thought:

        Not Covered

        • Broken bones and fractures including tailbone, hips, spine, etc
        • Tears from episiotomy
        • It is unclear whether other types of prolapse will be covered (bladder, bowel, rectum urethra, or small intestine) resulting from muscle strain are not covered.
        • Levator avulsion is included, which can be causative of prolapse, but not other muscle or ligament damage which can also be a factor, such as damage to the sacrospinous ligament.
        • Nerve damage other than that to the pudendal nerve
        • Fissures

        Without further advocacy from the Greens, and our public submissions these will remain unfunded by ACC. Everyone is welcome to make a submission.

        • Sabine 9.1.1.1

          So we are talking about 'mothers' when we talk about parent?

          Women who don't give birth generally don't sustain injuries that are only sustained during child birth. And women can be parents without ever giving birth.

          The word you are looking for is "mother" – a women / girl who gives birth.

          but it makes for riveting reading and know one really knows who it applies too.

          Really even 'birthing person' would have been clearer. But hey, one is either woke, or precise, both however will never go hand in hand.

          • arkie 9.1.1.1.1

            I guess we are all allowed to pick the particular battles we choose to fight. I would encourage you to forgo the provided submission template and make your own submission without the language you find incomprehensible:

            https://www.parliament.nz/en/ECommitteeSubmission/53SCEW_SCF_BILL_118133/CreateSubmission

            • Sabine 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I have done my submission a while ago, . then i got to watch teh spectacle that was the Green and the Labour Party doodahs be disrespectful, rude and downright unpleasant on Youtube videos. I will no longer waste my time so that these people can make a mockery of democracy and its people.

              So no, i don't have to participate in the mockery that is the erasure of female centric language, and to make that mockery palatable and appear legit. I find it interesting though that they don't use 'birthing people/persons' but i guess they were trying really hard to be 'inclusive' of 'women. Hence why a very woke, and very well educated person from the Green Party came up with some really shoddy english to talk about “Parents” (plural even) in regards to some very specific injuries that only happen to one 'sex' but not to all of those sex into injuries sustained by parents. Bad english. Maybe someone should tell them? Maybe a green party member, are you allowed to discuss that now?

              Example:

              The surrogate mother/s who birthed both of Tamati Coffeys (Labour) children is a mother by the act of giving birth to the children. They are however not a parent. And despite that / these women not being the parent they might have sustained injuries. Does this thing from the Greens apply to them?

      • Descendant Of Smith 9.1.2

        Parents with birth injuries, pray tell what birth injuries does the man risk?

        The cursing headlock my wife put me in while giving birth was quite painful. I didn't quite get so close to her for the next one.

        • Sabine 9.1.2.1

          So you mean the Mother, right?

          Because you know, one can be a parent and never encounter any birth injuries. But Mothers often suffer for long terms of the injuries sustained whilst giving birht.

          • Descendant Of Smith 9.1.2.1.1

            No I meant my wife put me in a headlock and it did actually hurt and took a couple of weeks to come right. I was humourously replying to the question of what injuries a man may suffer during birth – as opposed to giving birth which is an entirely different matter.

            Unsure why mother is capitalised but I'm well aware of the injuries mothers can have during childbirth and always been perplexed why ACC does not cover them?

            • Sabine 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Mind you could claim that as a sports injury or gasp domestic violence. You might actually have more luck with ACC on either one of these claims.

              But yeah, ouch.

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    Yesterday I commented on MIQ for the first time because it became obvious that bureaucrats (probably male) were using it to discriminate against pregnant women. I've just noticed that her lawyer is making the same point:

    Bellis' lawyer Tudor Clee told First Up New Zealand women had been enduring traumatic births overseas because they could not return. He said pregnancy was a medical condition but Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) staff with no medical qualifications were overruling the advice of doctors and midwives. Clee has asked Crown Law to review the legality of MBIE's decision in Bellis' case but said he would go to court if it was not resolved this week.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/460580/pregnant-nz-journalist-charlotte-bellis-asked-to-reapply-for-miq-under-different-category

    There has obviously been insufficient focus on govt sexism. Watching leftists defend it onsite here because they're dead keen to let anonymous little hitlers off the moral hook has been quite entertaining. Some of these people appear to be females supporting sexism on the basis of one rule for all. Surrealism rules, apparently! Clee also noted that

    we have had The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Plunket, the College of Midwives, the College of New Zealand Psychiatrists, Sir Peter Gluckman, all state that it is medically unethical to force New Zealand women to give birth overseas or to give birth alone in New Zealand without their partners. And it actually risks the health of the mother and the potential long-term health of the unborn baby."

    I suppose the leftists defending the bureaucrats doing the unethical discrimination would complain that it ain't fair to criticise either group since noticing unethical behaviour is too hard for them.

    Clee was unsure if the different category Bellis had been invited to apply under applied to her. He said Bellis did not have a visa to stay in her partner's country, Belgium.

    Which brings us to the moral corruption in our bureaucracy. They seem to be inviting the journalist to lie about her situation.

    "On Sunday 30 January 2022 we took the extra step of writing to Charlotte to explain that there is another emergency allocation category (1a(iii)) that she may wish to apply under, and we outlined the criteria that must be met." The category is for New Zealanders in a location or situation where there is a serious risk to their safety and their only option is to return to New Zealand.

    Pregnancy in and of itself is not considered an emergency under the emergency allocation criteria but certain conditions during pregnancy may mean that the high bar for an emergency was met, the statement said.

    In a review in late October 2021 MIQ made no changes to existing categories, but agreed assessors would include consideration of the unborn child when making decisions where pregnancy is part of the emergency application.

    How can she tell our govt she's unsafe when the Taliban have assured her she is safe??

    Having been declined an emergency spot MIQ Bellis was assured by senior Taliban officials she would be safe in Afghanistan, where she and her partner have visas.

    Bellis and her photographer partner Jim Huylebroek submitted 59 documents in their application to gain an emergency MIQ spot, she said.

    Let's assume parity, and half the number for each person. Why would bureaucrats believe 29.5 hoops is a satisfactory number for a citizen to be forced to jump through in order to access a human right they are entitled to in law? I'm referring to the right to return home.

    Seems they believe bureaucrats are a privileged caste, unaccountable to the public. Arbitrarily inflicting trauma on kiwi citizens overseas seems to be their prerogative.

  11. Gosman 11

    "Meanwhile, in countries like Afghanistan, women have lost rights at an alarming rate in the past year thanks to the Taliban and the uselessness of the rest of the world in taking action."

    Ummm…. I thought that was the what the foreign military intervention from 2002 through to last year was meant to be doing (among other things).

    • weka 11.1

      The military intervention had nothing to do with the wellbeing of Afghan women, and since their withdrawal it's obvious that the powers in the world basically don't give a fuck.

      • Sabine 11.1.1

        They did spend a lot of time selling the invasion of Afghanistan as for the good of women at the time. Laura Bush was even wheeled out to shore up the masses.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/laurabushtext_111701.html

        But it is quite clear the the world over very few actually give a fuck about womens well being, safety and rights. It just all comes in different levels of 'no fucks to give' and punishment meeted out to women who don't submit fully to the rules of men.

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          They did spend a lot of time selling the invasion of Afghanistan as for the good of women at the time. Laura Bush was even wheeled out to shore up the masses.

          Yep, I remember it at the time. Even then it sounded hypocritical PR bullshit. And now they’ve just proved it.

        • weka 11.1.1.2

          But it is quite clear the the world over very few actually give a fuck about womens well being, safety and rights. It just all comes in different levels of 'no fucks to give' and punishment meeted out to women who don't submit fully to the rules of men.

          Responses to Bellis in the past few days just confirmed it, eh.

      • Gosman 11.1.2

        I'm not sure what your alternative is to a military option. Do you think the Taliban just need a stern talking to?

        • felix 11.1.2.1

          They’re very naughty boys. They should sit in the corner of the cave and think about what they’ve done to humanity.

  12. Ad 12

    Minister Hipkins has defended the border policy.

    "I want to be clear, there is a place in MIQ for people with special circumstances like Ms Bellis. No one's saying there is not," he said in his written statement.

    "I understand she wanted to return on a specific date and that officials reached out to her for more information shortly after looking at her application. The emergency allocation criteria includes a requirement to travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days.

    "Ms Bellis indicated she did not intend to travel until the end of February and has been encouraged by MIQ to consider moving her plans forward.

    "I understand officials have also since invited her to apply for another emergency category. I encourage her to take these offers seriously.

    "I also understand she was offered New Zealand consular assistance twice since she returned to Afghanistan in early December but has not responded. Again, I encourage her to take up any offers of assistance."

    Chris Bunny, the head of MIQ, said Bellis had been invited to apply for another emergency allocation category (1a(iii)) for "New Zealand citizens and residents who are in a location or situation where there is a serious risk to their safety and their only option is to return to New Zealand".

    COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins defends MIQ amid backlash over pregnant journo Charlotte Bellis' refused entry to New Zealand | Newshub

    Bellis's manipulative bullshit is held up to the light. One person doesn't trump the rights of the population for massive spread of Omicron.

    Ardern is sticking to her statement that from the end of February, vaccinated Kiwis arriving from Australia will be able to self-isolate at home.

    Thank God this government knows how to stick to its policy, state a horizon to it, and execute it despite all the manipulative nonsense this professional reporter can generate.

    • Anne 12.1

      ….she wanted to return on a specific date and that officials reached out to her for more information shortly after looking at her application. The emergency allocation criteria includes a requirement to travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days.

      "Ms Bellis indicated she did not intend to travel until the end of February and has been encouraged by MIQ to consider moving her plans forward.

      "I understand officials have also since invited her to apply for another emergency category. I encourage her to take these offers seriously.

      "I also understand she was offered New Zealand consular assistance twice since she returned to Afghanistan in early December but has not responded. Again, I encourage her to take up any offers of assistance."

      Thanks for that information Ad. I knew there was more to the story.

      Most of us who have commented negatively have every sympathy for pregnant women wanting to return to NZ to have their babies. God, I know how distressed I would feel in such a situation and unable to return.

      My quarrel is the way she has gone about it. Trying to jump the queue using questionable methods and using her media expertise/contacts to manipulate the system for her own ends.

      You allow one person to get away with this behaviour then you're opening the floodgates for everyone to "game" the system where-ever way they can.

      • Ad 12.1.1

        This person is a professional publicist trying to play the system like a black grand piano.

        After her flights to Belgium and Qatar, she didn't book her flight to New Zealand until after the news that we were opening up out of the MIQ system.

        • Anne 12.1.1.1

          What I think she is also doing:

          She is playing a political game in an attempt to discredit the government's pandemic response. Why else would she ignore the advice/services offered her by NZ officials.

          Contrary to the impression she is creating, they appear to me to have genuinely tried to assist her and she chose to ignore them.

          • Kat 12.1.1.1.1

            All part of the black ops plan, DP is back and with a more sophisticated smooth headed operator. Welcome to elections 2023.

      • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.2

        "Ms Bellis indicated she did not intend to travel until the end of February and has been encouraged by MIQ to consider moving her plans forward."

        So surely we could have said – providing we are still open then you can have an MIQ spot. Go ahead book your tickets. It isn't like there are 200,000 pregnant women wanting to come back and have their babies.

        Oh that's right people will just start getting pregnant just to get a spot! Thin end of the wedge and all that.

        • Anne 12.1.2.1

          If you are inferring my comment is some way-out conspiracy theory then you're way off beam.

          She has influential contacts in the National Party. She did not told the full story. Instead she launched into an attack on the government and its pandemic response and is aided an abetted by her Nat. contacts. She may not have started out with such intentions but it ended up that way and she's in boots n' all.

          By the way, if she had been black or very dark brown do you think the hysteria would have occurred? The answer is NO. It might have been given a tiny airing in a provincial paper but that probably would have been it.

          • weka 12.1.2.1.1

            She has influential contacts in the National Party… Instead she launched into an attack on the government and its pandemic response and is aided an abetted by her Nat. contacts.

            Where are you getting that from?

          • Anne 12.1.2.1.2

            Typo: She did not tell the full story.

            See Ad @ 12.

          • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.2.1.3

            "If you are inferring my comment is some way-out conspiracy theory then you're way off beam."

            Confused about how you would get that from my comment. All I'm saying is that the governments response to her should have just been to let her come when she wanted – just like any other pregnant women in difficult circumstances.

            For me it is not about her – it's about the lack of common sense and the ability of people to make sensible decisions. That she uses her influence to get the story across and makes political capital out of it is so blatantly obvious it wasn't worth commenting on. That is a side issue – an issue yes – but one I'm not that interested in.

            If you were referring to this

            "Oh that's right people will just start getting pregnant just to get a spot! Thin end of the wedge and all that."

            There will be some people thinking this – alongside "getting pregnant to get a benefit".

      • DukeEll 12.1.3

        Once again, Anne waits with baited breath for some information that casts doubt over the claims of a young women who is critical of the government.

        What Ms Bellis has done seems to be the only way for MBIE and MiQedia to take notice. What Hipkins didn’t address was the 11% acceptance rate for exceptions for pregnant women. Which is a national disgrace and we should all hang our heads in shame for, rather than telling an expectant mother to STFU and be grateful the taliban accepted her.

      • Belladonna 12.1.4

        Consular assistance. Gosh that's a joke.
        Real life experience from 3 friends/family members in 3 different countries. The 'assistance' consists of an email telling them how to apply for an MIQ place. And even that takes some time. Almost impossible to actually speak to (let alone meet with) one of the officials – unless, of course, you have 'pull' in some way.

    • Ross 12.2

      Bellis's manipulative bullshit is held up to the light. One person doesn't trump the rights of the population for massive spread of Omicron.

      I must say it’s great to see Scomo commenting at The Standard.

  13. barry 13

    To say that Bellis had few options is disingenuous. She was in Belgium with the father of the child who is a Belgian citizen. She could likely have gone to any of a number of other countries. Yes, if she chooses to come to NZ that should not be denied either, but does she deserver a higher place in the queue than others.

    Nevertheless the question of emergency MIQ allocations to pregnant women is important. There are a lot of vulnerable people that have been denied emergency allocations. MIQ spaces are in short supply and the government has abdicated its responsibility to make sure that a larger portion are available to those in genuine need.

    It is a shame that having a good lawyer, and access to sympathetic journalists get action, when others who are less well connected, miss out.

    [citation needed for these two claims: “She was in Belgium with the father of the child who is a Belgian citizen. She could likely have gone to any of a number of other countries.”

    I said very clearly at the end of the post that claims of fact had to be supported with evidence at the time of post. Please provide that now or I will moderate. Read the note on the post to see what evidence is needed – weka]

    • Sabine 13.1

      Why should she go elsewhere rather then come home? She is not an immigrant, she is a New Zealand Citizen and Passport holder. She has a country to go too, it is the government that refuses to give her entry.

      Why do we expect a New Zealand citizen to go to other countries to ask for a residence visa or refuge or asylum when she has a perfectly good country to go back to?

      Never mind that any other country has the right to totally refuse her a visa. Just saying. Or are we saying now that other countries are responsible for NZ Citizens that we can't be bothered letting in, and with responsibility i mean, housing, feeding, and medically look after these people.

      Is it really now that we are so entrenched that we can't actually look over the person who raises the issue and look at the mess in the middle of the living room, namely that MIQ does not work – and over the last two years that was shown again and again. Why is it that some seem to get in so easily, even manage to holiday overseas, yet other have to apply for an emergency 'allotment' for an MIQ space in order to travel home for an emergency?

      What is the difference between some stars – tv, music, sport, that seem to flit in and out of NZ at their leisure, and yet others get to watch their loved die over zoom or get offered Asylum by the Taliban because they don't win the MIQ lottery, or are refused and emergency ticket.

      And as Wekas post has shown quite clearly is that this has been an ongoing issue, and women suffer for it, and other countries have to pick up the slack of NZ in looking after these women and their children.

      And lastly i would like to point out that we as a country had no issues kicking out all he foreigners that got stuck here after Covid arrived as soon as we could. Could you imagine if say India would have said to NZ, tough luck, our borders are closed and these Indians are now your responsibility? The howls of outrage would have crumbled mountains.

      • Ad 13.1.1

        "Why do we expect a New Zealand citizen to go to other countries to ask for a residence visa or refuge or asylum when she has a perfectly good country to go back to?"

        Because we are implementing one of the world's most successful responses to a global pandemic.

        The Prime Minister has repeated that citizens will be able to isolate here at home from some time in February. And it was only once she heard that, that Bellis booked her flights here.

        • Sabine 13.1.1.1

          No other country is obliged to house New Zealanders that could go home to the country with the best covid strategy (TM), unless part of that strategy is to pawn off stranded kiwis onto other countries who btw, have their own to look after and may or may not be keen on more 'refugees and asylum seeker'.

          As for the PM and her crew, they say many things during the day, and i believe them when it happens. Specifically with regards to isolation and MIQ.

          Fact is that she is a NZ Citizen and NO country is under any obligation to play host to people that have a safe country to go too.

          But i guess sacrifices need to be made, and best it be made by people other then you and many other of the very very kind lefties and laborites on this page.
          Sacrifice for us, cause we won’t. Vote Labour 2023.

          • Ad 13.1.1.1.1

            Yes sacrifices have to be made, and it's about time these uber-entitled rich who fly everywhere at will and are employed by global elites, finally start to see what sacrifices they ought to have been making all along.

            Bellis makes the entire story about her rather than covering the outrageous state of Afghani women and their access to healthcare.

            Other than complaining, there is very little anyone could gauge about what you stand for. You can vote of course on that basis.

            Vote Labour in 2023.

            • Sabine 13.1.1.1.1.1

              She is an uber entitled rich? Like Lorde? >Like that Taika Waititi?

              really,

              Good grief, this is just one more reason where the lack of kindness form the Labour Party and the Labourites is so unbridled, that good grief, not even with a barge pole would i press that button for Labour.

              You are funny sometimes Ad.

              • Ad

                She is. Global career, multiple flights, options, contacts and supporters around the world, and the power to command front-page op-eds at will.

                The trouble with kindness when you're trying to protect a nation of 5 million is pretty well expressed by Plato:

                "Good people do not need laws to act responsibly,

                while bad people will find a way around the laws."

                • Sabine

                  She is a journalist. Get a grip.

                  She is a citizens, and she is entitled to return to her home country. You have no more a right to safety then she does, and she should not be made repsonsible for your safety.

                  Seriously, get a grip.

                  And btw Ad, every time a shit story like this about women being denied entrance to their homecoming to have their children there Labour loses anotehr point or two and there is no kindness that you or Jacinda for that matter could conjure up that would take away the bad press of a Kiwi getting Asylum offered by the Taliban.

                  You know what i find equally surprising and amusing is that among these highly paid government officials, all of them with fancy university degrees in english, arts and gender studies, not one had enough living brain cells together to tell someone who needed to hear it that not letting women back home to give birth is really really just a fucking bad look and will back fire.

                  Labour, we decide who is a Citizen and when. 2023 – but not you who is stuck overseas, your right to vote just expired.

                  • Ad

                    Actually she was until very recently a senior producer at Al Jazeera. Senor producers at tinpot TVNZ get over $120k. Bellis is resolutely not without options.

                    Her partner Jim Huylebroek is a senior photographer for the New York Times. Flown everywhere, and not paid peanuts either.

                    Her human right to repatriate to her country of citizenship is being enabled multiple times and with multiple options. And her human rights are simply not as important as every other more desperate case.

                    By and large bureaucrats enforcing rules no not give a monkey's about any "bad look". Otherwise MSD would throw money out of a helicopter.

                    And Hipkins has the political courage to face down someone who is using every trick in the book to get her place at the expense of someone else. It won't get them any votes with the tiresome fools like you who will find every exception for every bleeding heart sonata that plucks their strings.

                    But then, that's why the voters put Labour in power with an overwhelming majority and not the Greens.

          • georgecom 13.1.1.1.2

            indeed, no country is required to house NZ citizens that could go home. There are avenues for Kiwis to get home, for the next 2-3 weeks it is still via MIQ. If kiwis do not want to spend time in other countries then they need to apply for an MIQ spot. If unable to secure one then they find themselves in the situation of needing to remain overseas until they do. Where will they go, what will they do, I cannot answer that.

            • Sabine 13.1.1.1.2.1

              and you should not need to answer that, as it is their right to come home. Or maybe they can go to a NZ consulate and stay there? Until they can win a lottery ticket for one of the 1200 lucky duckies that could get a voucher for MIQ out of 30.000.

              Again, your right to safety does not negate the right of Kiwis stranded overseas to come home.

              Maybe it is time for us now to sacrifice a bit, rather then just be smug and tell these guys to go find a ditch in which to disappear cause everything else is too hard, and btw, can anyone of the safe kiwis be bothered. Selfish is as selfish does, and selfishness seems to be as rampant as Covid.

              • georgecom

                yes they have a right to come home. the system NZ set up to allow that to happen was MIQ. it had it's limitations. it was was it was. And yes it is time now to give a bit. the restrictions relating to MIQ are giving.

        • weka 13.1.1.2

          Because we are implementing one of the world's most successful responses to a global pandemic.

          Yes, incredibly successful. MiQ is crucial. The question is why would you let in DJs etc and not a pregnant NZ woman in Afghanistan with few other options. I'm not criticising the decisions, I'm asking why the settings are the way they are in the first place.

          The Prime Minister has repeated that citizens will be able to isolate here at home from some time in February. And it was only once she heard that, that Bellis booked her flights here.

          She was trying to get back via the lottery before that. Once the Feb opening was announced, she made plans. Then omicron forced the government to change its plans. The February opening was delayed and the lottery closed.

          The government had previously announced plans to begin a staggered reopening of the border for vaccinated travellers in mid-February. With the emergence of Omicron, however, that plan has been pushed out, and no alternative date announced for when border restrictions may ease.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/19/new-zealand-closes-borders-to-new-arrivals-over-unprecedented-omicron-risk

          Afaik, unless you already have a lottery booking there is no way to currently get into NZ if you are a NZ citizen, and no date when that will change.

          • Ad 13.1.1.2.1

            Bellis admits she had made multiple plans. In multiple countries. And had the money to fly to them, which she did. She is just another entitled elite complaining.

            You can't apply for an emergency MIQ space without proof you've booked to fly already, so Bellis would have needed to provide that.

            https://www.miq.govt.nz/about/news/emergency-allocation-criteria-changes-3/

            The delay to the at-home isolation for citizens has only been pushed back a few weeks to the end of February, as per the advice from the official website below. Which makes a whole lot of sense when we are about to go to 500+ COVID cases per day.

            https://www.miq.govt.nz/travel-to-new-zealand/entering-new-zealand-in-2022/

            [“Bellis admits she had made multiple plans. In multiple countries” explanation, quote and link to support this please – weka]

            • weka 13.1.1.2.1.1

              Mod note. Don't know what your point is, but will wait for the citation on Bellis having lots of plans.

            • weka 13.1.1.2.1.2

              The delay to the at-home isolation for citizens has only been pushed back a few weeks to the end of February, as per the advice from the official website below. Which makes a whole lot of sense when we are about to go to 500+ COVID cases per day.

              Are you saying the Guardian reporting on the 19th Jan is wrong?

            • Ad 13.1.1.2.1.3

              When she discovered she was pregnant she was in Qatar.

              She then flew to Belgium with her partner when she found she was pregnant, to live with his parents.

              She then contacted the Taliban to see if she could go back there, and they agreed.

              https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-charlotte-bellis-an-open-letter-on-miq/U4WQGYTJHUP36AGVOBN3F6PJSE/

              She is considering an option to go to another country who has offered to take her:

              https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/pregnant-kiwi-journalist-charlotte-bellis-offered-asylum-by-second-country/YEVJP4HSSPEYPZ7IA4AUUJ7TPQ/

              But her publicist and friend Gemma Ross (co founder of Hustle and Bustle Agency) friend doesn't want to name that country.

              • weka

                thanks.

                She had to leave Qatar. because it was illegal to be pregnant and unmarried.

                She decided to not stay in Belgium because her visa only allows 3 months out of every 6 and she'd already used half of that. They wanted to reserve that for an emergency.

                So she flew to Afghanistan to apply for an MiQ place.

                All of that is in her original piece in the Herald.

                Obviously there is privilege in all that, compared to say a Qatari or Afghan woman. But I'm not seeing where she has a lot of good choices here other than coming back to NZ. Or being granted asylum, which would make NZ a laughing stock.

                I'm unclear if she could get entry into the UK, some have said yest but no-one has clarified if there are restrictions on that as well.

                • Sabine

                  She had to leave Qatar. because it was illegal to be pregnant and unmarried.

                  they don't care.

                  She decided to not stay in Belgium because her visa only allows 3 months out of every 6 and she'd already use

                  they don't care.

                  So she flew to Afghanistan to apply for an MiQ place.

                  they don't care.

                  Obviously there is privilege in all that, compared to say a Qatari or Afghan woman. But I'm not seeing where she has a lot of good choices here other than coming back to NZ. Or being granted asylum, which would make NZ a laughing stock.

                  I'm unclear if she could get entry into the UK, some have said yest but no-one has clarified if there are restrictions on that as we

                  they don't care about that either.

                  What they do care about is that a really dumb person in a government agency who hands out emergency vouchers denied a voucher to a person who is as educated as can be, who is not afraid of government, who knows her rights, and who insisted in her rights being respected as a NZ citizens. And they care deeply that that women had the audacity to insist in her rights, and even used the Media to raise a ruckus. Does she not know her place?

                  What they do really care about is that the Labour Government has egg on their face, and has changed course from locked hermit 'kingdom' (can anyone tell me who is our king here is, Grant Robertson? Or does Jacinda Ardern identifies as 'king'?) to open country again, at later this year. And yes, i have mixed feelings about that, but MIQ as it is run now is inhumane and really more of a hunger games contest then a government run quarantine resource to bring people safely into the country.

                  As someone said, this women should give birth in a cave in Afghanistan, cause Weka, understand that our sexist little lefties really don't care about women, pregnant women and their children, born or unborn. Unless they need the 'protect women', empower women slogans to a. gather votes, or b. invade a country. Then they know what women are and then they even pretend to care about the wellbeing of the ones like us.

        • Ross 13.1.1.3

          Because we are implementing one of the world's most successful responses to a global pandemic.

          Yeah nah borrowing a small fortune to keep healthy people at home, a debt which future generations will have to deal with, is the antithesis of successful. But even if you were correct, allowing Charlotte Bellis into the country isn’t going to turn New Zealand into a zombie apocalypse. She is entitled to return.

          But this issue isn’t new. Back in October it was reported that many pregnant women had been denied entry into NZ. One couple took legal action and, before the case was about to be heard, they were accepted into MIQ.

    • weka 13.2

      mod note. You're in premod until I see the citation or you withdraw your claims. This means none of your comments will appear on the front end until this is resolved.

    • barry 13.3

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/pregnant-kiwi-journalist-charlotte-bellis-offered-asylum-by-second-country/YEVJP4HSSPEYPZ7IA4AUUJ7TPQ/

      The article says that she was in Belgium with her partner (who she expects to accompany her to NZ). I also object to the statement "offered asylum in another country" – it is demeaning to all those who are stateless or have to move on fear of death. Her situation is not at all comparable.

      With Qatar threatening to imprison her, and Belgium kicking her out, how come it is NZ that is the bad guy?

      • weka 13.3.1

        read my note at the bottom of the post. You have to provide: explanation, quote and link. I’m not reading article to try and parse your argument. The onus is on you to do the work. Still in premod.

        You also need to provide evidence that she could have gone to any number of other countries.

        • barry 13.3.1.1

          It said "offered asylum in another country".

          [two day ban site wide. I explained clearly, twice, what was needed. I’m not wasting my time on this anymore. – weka]

          • Anne 13.3.1.1.1

            I thought your comment @ 13 reasonable barry and after prompting you provided a link which seemed to me to confirm what you said.

            Don't let it put you off coming here.

      • Sabine 13.3.2

        Because NZ is her home country, she is a citizen, she holds a passport and the country is refusing her her right of return.

        non of the other countries are in the least obliged to look after a stranded kiwi, no more then we were obliged to look after stranded overseas tourists/students/visa holders whom we all send home btw.

        But the reason this shit has now hit properly the fan is that NZ is not letting people come back home and making them other countries problems, NZ has not been helpfull to pregnant women overseas or to people with various other medical needs, and this women has run out of fucks to give. She just wants to come home and have her baby. As is her right.

  14. miravox 14

    In another example of the vulnerability during pregnancy, I'd love to know why two midwives refused to provide effective pain relief to a labouring woman. One was upfront about it, but the second one lied.

    The woman, whose name is suppressed, engaged Bakker in 2018. It was agreed that gas and pethidine would be used if pain relief was needed. The woman had chosen Bakker because she had agreed to pethidine being used during labour. During her first labour the woman had been refused pain relief by her former midwife.

    Is this a case of ideology coming before the person you're assisting and guiding through birthing?

    • Puckish Rogue 14.1

      Yeah I saw and thought it was strange, hopefully someone on here can provide an explanation

      • joe90 14.1.1

        Nothing says junkie quite like repeated requests for a specific opioid.

        • arkie 14.1.1.1

          That’s a pretty long bow to draw, also concerning that someone’s addictions mean they are deserving of suffering.

          The midwife acknowledged the harm caused:

          The midwife, who was not named, told the HDC she “felt it was in the best interests of the baby not to give pethidine” given the woman’s stage of labour.

          She said she gave Ms B saline “leading her to believe” it was pethidine to give her “a sense of support and help in a difficult time”.

          “I knew it would do no harm, and that pethidine could still be administered at any stage going forward, if required,” the decision stated.

          The midwife, who has been registered for 23 years, accepted she “messed up” and was “deeply regretful” of the situation.

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/113368510/midwife-ignores-pregnant-womans-request-for-pain-relief-in-labour

          • Sabine 14.1.1.1.1

            I knew it would do no harm.

            Never mind the mother, never mind that person. She don't count. Really, any harm done to her is 'not harm'. Can women even feel pain? Are they even human.

            • miravox 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Exactly.

              For every issue around pregnancy on this post choose one of the following sincerely-held opinions about women:

              1. Pregnant women are just the same as non-pregnant women and don't require any special consideration regarding their needs and preferences.

              2. Pregnant women are incapable of making good decisions for themselves.

              3. We know it's in their best interests if we make all the decisions for pregnant women rather than mentoring, caring for their health and supporting them.

              4. If we can't understand what a pregnant woman is experiencing then it must be all in her mind, rather than due to our own lack of imagination / empathy / compassion – really, "it's not that bad"

              Swap pregnant in the above sentences for any other reproductive vulnerability / health issue a woman may have (from birth, postnatal period, sexual rights, abortion, menopause, female specific diseases etc.) and you'll probably find a bunch of people who have opinions about it that reflect the above sentences too.

              [Note: I haven't included pregnant children here because we all know they have no rights at all].

          • joe90 14.1.1.1.2

            The first midwife recognised her drug seeking behaviour and the second, who for whatever reason foolishly decided to indulge her, should have reported her concerns the moment she realised that she'd made a mistake.

            And I say that as someone who's had first hand experience of the drug seeking antics of junkie scum and, as the second midwife found out, it's as destructive AF on anyone who comes into contact with them.

            • arkie 14.1.1.1.2.1

              I feel that your first hand experience may be colouring your interpretation of the events described. The woman had given birth without pain relief before and wanted pain relief with the next pregnancy. The treatment the midwife chose to simulate was ultimately administered at the instruction an obstetrician.

              Personally I wouldn't describe seeking pain relief during labour as drug seeking antics nor would I call people struggling with addiction scum but we are all different.

              Apropos of nothing:

              Womens' pain not taken as seriously as mens' pain

              A new study suggests that when men and women express the same amount of pain, women's pain is considered less intense based on gender stereotypes.

              https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210406164124.htm

              • joe90

                No one's saying she shouldn't have pain relief. But you get what you're given and her requesting a specific drug certainly rang the bell with the first midwife.

                • Brigid

                  I expect she requested pethidine because it is the most commonly used drug for pain relief during childbirth, along with nitrous oxide.

                  When I was having my kids, 1973 -1981 I along with all my contemporaries were offered either or both. When my grand kids were being born, their mother was offered pethidine as a matter of course.

                  By the 90s, epidurals (f bupivacaine 0.0625% and fentanyl 2 microgram/ml.) were offered or a caesarian. That is, you could choose to have a caesarian as your preferred method of delivery.

                  Crazy I know.

                  https://www.nationalwomenshealth.adhb.govt.nz/assets/Womens-health/Documents/Policies-and-guidelines/Epidural-Analgesia-in-Labour-Management-and-Care.pdf

                • weka

                  But you get what you're given and her requesting a specific drug certainly rang the bell with the first midwife.

                  It's pretty normal to have a birth plan these days and to discuss what kind of pain relief the birthing mother is ok with and not ok with. Mostly in NZ we're past the days of nursey knows best and telling women how to give birth. Midwives use a partnership model.

                  • weka

                    I'm curious what the problem would be with giving the woman pethedine if she were an opiate user. Is it an overdose issue?

                • Belladonna

                  If that were the case, then the midwife had a professional duty to raise the issue with the medical team (i.e. the obstetrician who became involved in what was clearly a difficult delivery; and the nursing staff who would need to be aware of any possible withdrawal symptoms in the baby, if the mother had been using during her pregnancy).

                  Fetal addiction is a well-known medical issue – and there are effective medical protocols in place to deal with it.

                  Since the midwife did neither, it seems much more likely that she was a natural birthing advocate who believed that painkillers interfere with natural child delivery. And her personal beliefs over-rode her professional duty.

                  Given that she has been censured by the Health and Disability Commissioner – and not raised any of the speculative issues you've suggested, during the review; it seems much more likely that you have misread the situation.

            • Sabine 14.1.1.1.2.2

              Drug seeking behaviour.

              Yea because giving birth to a child, is like such a good chance to score some mighty fine drugs. I wonder how much she thought that midwife would give her, like maybe a weeks supply in little vials that she can take home?

            • weka 14.1.1.1.2.3

              why are you thinking its a junkie seeking opiates rather than a woman needing pain relief during childbirth? And even is she was an addict, why would that matter?

            • miravox 14.1.1.1.2.4

              Two requests, for two childbirths of a standard pain relief option when gas doesn't work and/or causes nausea doesn't scream junkie to me. It suggests a difficult labour.

              The obstetrician who eventually attended her did recognise her need and gave her pethidine – not at all unusual pain relief in labour.

              Until there is evidence otherwise, I'm leaning towards an ideological-driven approach to childbirth that precludes drugs as a pain relief option for reasons other than the woman's need for effective pain relief.

            • francesca 14.1.1.1.2.5

              "junkie scum"

              hang your head in shame Joe

        • weka 14.1.1.2

          are you being sarcastic?

        • Sabine 14.1.1.3

          are you speaking from experience?

          During her pregnancy in 2017, the woman and the midwife discussed pain relief and agreed Mrs B would receive gas (nitrous oxide and oxygen) and pethidine in labour if required.

          But during labour, Mrs B became "distressed" and was suffering back pain thought to be caused by the baby's skull pressing on her pelvis. She then asked for pethidine as the gas was making her feel sick.

          Ms B was given four 10ml syringes of saline – three in half doses – over 2.5 hours, at 12.55pm and was told it was pethidine.

          But, when an obstetrician later confirmed the baby's skull was indeed pressing on the woman's pelvis, Ms B was eventually given a real dose of pethidine at 1.15pm.

          The woman gave birth to a baby boy with the assistance of ventouse (vacuum) delivery.

          After Ms B left the hospital, the midwife told her she had not given her pethidine to ensure "the safety of the baby".

          • joe90 14.1.1.3.1

            are you speaking from experience?

            Yup. A once wonderful woman who spent most of her life on methadone and in terribly poor health with a liver ravaged by hepatitis C.

            Her addiction ended her life and fucking near ruined mine, too.

            • Sabine 14.1.1.3.1.1

              so because you knew someone it must apply to this women too?

              I read the articles above, not a single word is used to call the women a drug user, a pusher, or someone who may want to score drugs.

              My uncle was a drug pusher, several of them actually in the 70's – heroin was plenty and everyone was a hero for a day, but you know what, i would not consider all men who want a specific pain killer 'drug scum' or what ever terms you used.

              I suggest taht you retract your words, or you put up a link about the supposed drug use of that women who was harmed by her midwife and the student. Other wise you are just slandering a women who was already lied to by a medical professional, had some injections that she did not need, just to get the requested pain medication when a doctor arrived and confirmed that her child birth was actually as painful as she said.

              Seriously, put up link or ask Mod to delete your comments and those of us that responded to you.

        • felix 14.1.1.4

          What bullshit joe90. Every pregnant woman knows about pethidine.

        • Delia 14.1.1.5

          Have you give birth? If you are male as I suspect what the hell do you know about it?

          I agree with Weka's every point, but I will go further and say that this govt places a low priority on women and tries to pretend we are a subset of New Zealand men.

    • mpledger 14.2

      I'm not a midwife but from what I understand giving pethidine quite close to delivery means the baby can get a dose and can come out sleepy and floppy – the baby finds it difficult to process the dose without the mother's help. I guess that means it's hard to tell if there are any other underlying conditions with the same symptoms.

      Although this doesn't seem like the case here.

      • miravox 14.2.1

        Yes, I'm aware of the advice around pethidine and you're right – it seems like that wasn't the case here. The woman had hours to go before the birth, with an obstetrician finally providing her with the pain relief required.

        As a person who was there to provide care and support for a labouring woman, this attitude seems quite … distasteful

        https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/460578/midwife-fined-after-giving-placebo-during-birth

        "… [she] told the student midwife that the relationship between midwife and woman is like parent and child, with the midwife as the parent and the woman as the child.

        Bakker "advised that the woman looks up to the midwife and listens to what she tells them, so that if the midwife tells the woman she is receiving pethidine, the woman believes her."

        After a number of hours the woman finally did get the painkiller after a hospital obstetrician become involved.

  15. Congratulations for writing this post.

    In the last 8 months 219 women have applied for an emergency pregnancy allocation.

    Only 29 were accepted on first application.

    About 60+ were rejected.

    (TV One News _6pm)

    Does anyone get the feeling that the folks processing these applications have bugger-all knowledge of pregnancy?

    • Slightly different figures here on "Stuff"

      Between October 30, 2020 and October 5, 2021, MIQ received 229 applications involving pregnancy. Of those, just 23 were approved; 70 were declined; and 136 were in progress, cancelled or incomplete.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/127642726/mbie-considered-new-pregnancy-emergency-miq-allocation-criteria-decided-against-making-changes

      • Ad 15.1.1

        Why don't you run the same numbers for cancer?

        What about coming back for a funeral? What's the stats on that?

        What about weddings? Do we have the statistical breakdown for that?

        Why is a non-emergency like pregnancy more important than a wedding?

        • Sabine 15.1.1.1

          Is there a difference between a wedding and a women being pregnant?

          No they are totally the same. Hundreds of people will show up, dress up prettily and get drunk. Totally the same as growing a human in ones tummy. Specifically the dressing up prettily and getting drunk…..oh yeah, nah, not really.

        • Maggy Wassilieff 15.1.1.2

          I've no argument about any of those.

          All NZers should be able to return to NZ and self-quarantine.

          But you've got to wonder how it is that only 13% of Emergency allocations for pregnant mums have been accepted by MIQ, but 61% of other emergency allocations have been approved.

          Bunny adds that from October 30, 2020, to January 23, 2022, MIQ processed 8863 completed applications and approved 5396 applications for emergency allocations.

          https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/01/national-accuses-chris-hipkins-of-doing-nothing-for-months-over-allocating-emergency-miq-rooms-to-pregnant-kiwis-overseas.html

          Something stinks to high heaven over this issue.

          • Ad 15.1.1.2.1

            There's a pretty simple answer:

            The great majority of pregnancies aren't emergencies.

            And according to Bellis in her RNZ interview yesterday, her one isn’t.

            • Maggy Wassilieff 15.1.1.2.1.1

              Well, why has the NZ Government requested that she reapply under a different Emergency category?

              https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2022/01/kiwi-journalist-charlotte-bellis-rejects-mbie-s-offer-to-reapply-under-different-emergency-miq-category.html

              It seems Hipkins realises she needs to get here to NZ and is scurrying around looking for a face-saving way out of this omnishambles.

              • Muttonbird

                In one of her articles, Charlotte Bellis wrote that she did not want to be in Afghanistan after 30 weeks because premature care there is non-existent and they can't do cesarians at all in an emergency. Her safety is clearly at risk.

                This is the category Hipkins is encouraging Bellis to apply under; "someone whose safety is seriously at risk" instead of someone requiring access to time-critical medical treatment.

                Many people might see this as maddening bureaucracy but it is there for a reason and that is to ensure the set of rules is fair to everyone.

                The article you have linked to suggests she has rejected this advice. Whatever for? Does she want to get her and her baby and her partner to NZ, or does she want to risk all three in order to stand on principle?

                • If we are to believe "The Guardian", Bellis tells us she was originally told to apply under the medical pathway…

                  Speaking to RNZ on Monday morning, Bellis said she signed up for an MIQ spot via the medical treatment pathway because it was how pregnant women were told to apply. She was then asked to reapply under a category designed for New Zealanders in a location or a situation where there was a serious risk to their safety, she said.

                  “What does that say to women, does that mean there is no pathway for pregnant women? We signed up to the right one, the medical treatment is the correct one.”

                  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/31/charlotte-bellis-new-zealand-defends-miq-strict-quarantine-pregnant-journalist-help-taliban

                  Really, I can't be bothered arguing the toss about our bureaucratic rules for MIQ.

                  Get NZers home when they need to be here.

                  They're all vaxxed, we're all vaxxed… the omicron virus is on the loose.

                  Game over.

                  • Muttonbird

                    I don't get it. She seems to have been offered a lot of advice and support but has always refused that advice and support, and is now doubling down.

                    Also can't get my head around the EU rules which refuses her status as the pregnant partner of an EU citizen.

                    • Sabine

                      She is not married, thus has no right to a visa, no more then the girl friend on a holiday visa would have a right to a residence permit here in NZ. simple as that. There is not one country on this planet that is under any obligation to look after Kiwis that NZ refuses to let come home. The only thing she could have done is maybe leave Belgium for a few days and come back in. But she would not have any rights to medical care, housing etc. I can't quite understand how people here seem to find it hard to believe that other countries have their own imigration rules, and that they even apply them. But then maybe they think Kiwis are different then say someone from a third world country.

                      As for the advise, she was refused under the correct category – medical needs – and is now asked to apply for a different category so that they can let her in. And she is correct in asking why. It seems that .govt wants to rectify their error and please apply under this category here so we can approve you. Lol.

                      The whole of the MIQ system needs to be looked at and refreshed. She is just one of many that has been let down by faceless burocrats and a system that works well for the connected classes and bugger all for the rest.

                      Last, she is a Citizen, a NZ Passport holder and as such she is legally allowed to return to her country. And the government really needs to find a way to let people back in or they need to stop people in NZ from leaving – and that includes the connected rich listers and Labour MPs btw that want a nice little holiday during the times of the plague- as that would free up much needed spaces for those stuck overseas and who would like to come home.

                    • Muttonbird

                      As for the advise, she was refused under the correct category – medical needs

                      My understanding is she was refused because she didn't want to travel within the 14 days required for an emergency spot under the medical needs category.

                      I'm worried that she and her advisors didn't get their application right (an admittedly complicated process) and are still refusing official advice in order to highlight…something?

                      Hipkins says, "Bellis had been offered New Zealand consular assistance twice since she returned to Afghanistan in early December but (she) didn’t respond."

                      In the same article, this from Head of MIQ, Chris Bunny;

                      “It was decided to not make any changes to existing categories in relation to pregnancy (in October 2021), instead it was agreed assessors and decision-makers would include consideration of the unborn child when assessing and making decisions where pregnancy is part of the emergency application,” he said.

                      “Pregnancy in and of itself is not considered an emergency under the emergency allocation criteria, but certain conditions during pregnancy may mean that the high bar for an emergency is met.”

                      Bunny said MIQ is “sympathetic to the difficult circumstances many New Zealanders are experiencing due to the global pandemic”.

                      “We work hard to ensure everyone is treated fairly,” he said.

            • miravox 15.1.1.2.1.2

              The great majority of pregnancies aren't emergencies.

              And according to Bellis in her RNZ interview yesterday, her one isn’t.

              What you're talking about is a pregnancy complication that requires planned intervention.

              Most people wouldn't know if their pregnancy is an emergency until it is. That's almost the definition of an emergency, right?

              Like the one I had where my child was born 5 weeks early on the very day my pregnancy became an emergency that could have killed us both.

              And with a pregnancy that suddenly becomes an emergency, once you do know, a spot in MIQ will be far too late to fix it.

              Returning to a country where there are no issues around receiving healthcare seems a very good risk minimisation strategy for a pregnant woman in a country where it seems pretty risky to give birth, and for a govt who claims their MIQ is in everyone's best interests.

        • weka 15.1.1.3

          Why is a non-emergency like pregnancy more important than a wedding?

          That was explained in the post. Maybe you didn't read it. Maybe you really don't care if a NZ woman has pregnancy complications in a country with third world obstetric care when she could have been allowed home instead. Or that she has to have her child on her own away from her partner and/or other support.

          I've attended two livestreamed funerals of close relatives since the pandemic started. I would in no way compare that to a woman having to give birth in another country under difficult and possibly dangerous conditions.

          But those aren't the right comparisons. We want the stats on DJs and other people the government considered essential and more important than pregnant women.

          • Ad 15.1.1.3.1

            Bellis is very clear that hers is a pregnancy without complications, as per her interview yesterday on RNZ:

            'Bellis's pregnancy was going well. "I can feel her kicking, so that's exciting," she told RNZ. "And we haven't really had any major issues along the way."

            NZherald.co.nz/nz/pregnant-kiwi-journalist-charlotte-bellis-offered-asylum-by-second-country/YEVJP4HSSPEYPZ7IA4AUUJ7TPQ/

            Whatever category she applied for wasn't the right one.

            You are being played by a journalist and a publicist working as a team.

            • Sabine 15.1.1.3.1.1

              No we are not b eing played, certainly Weka is not, and she has wrote a good post about it, something that you do your best to ingnore.

              What annoys you is that we talk about the dysfunctional MIQ allocations again, and that this time rather then just go away you have an issue where a kiwi is stateless and stranded, and the Taliban offered her Asylum. And you know what, that is on the NZ government, and the governmental services that handle emergency applications. And with the lotteries closed until they are open again – when ever that is, this is the only way to come in.

              You are only pissed off at that particular women because she has clout, is educated knows how the media works and is using it as an amplifier of a system that was only ever inhumane.

              And as i said, that here is a vote losing activity by the labour party and the labour supporters. And oh, any pregnancy can change from healthy normal to danger to the life of the women or child literally from one ultra sound to the next and kill one or both. Unlike weddings were the worst that generally happens is a bit of a hang over and a surplus in unwearable brides maid dresses.

            • weka 15.1.1.3.1.2

              You are being played by a journalist and a publicist working as a team.

              It doesn't actually matter if that is true or not. Because there are many pregnant women being denied entry, and normal pregnancies can get complications quickly and then there is an emergency where the women shouldn't be flying and the airline probably won't want to fly her. This is really not a difficult thing to understand and it's why the MiQ process is just plain wrong. They should have a separate set of criteria for pregnancies.

              • Sabine

                But MIQ should have always been an 'emergency' service if you so like.

                Kiwis who have valid visas and are legally allowed to life and work overseas chances are will not try to come back. I know a few of those actually. All happy were they are.

                So really MIQ space should always have been primarily to let people come back home, rather then make it that thing that it is today. And i don't think that Kiwis that are here should be travelling overseas, unless again its an emergency, or they have a good business case.

                The question really is how much of that MIQ space is held apart for people like Lorde, and DJ's of national importance, and how much is used up for people from NZ that want to go on a wee holiday, and how much is left over for people to actually return. MIQ space should be allocated on need.

                • weka

                  I agree, but I still think there needs to be a system of giving some people priority. I'd put pregnant women near the top of that list, people that need medical treatment, people with family or close friends here dying and so on. Then people trying to get home as in shifting back from overseas (esp those that have given up jobs and homes and are in limbo). People coming back from holiday should be low on the list.

                  The problem I see is that the emergency categories can't manage a situation like a pregnancy which isn't an emergency but if it did become one it might be too late to travel. This is something fairly unique to pregnancy and we shouldn't have to even think about this if women's human rights were being upheld. It's just discriminatory to design a policy that treats people fairly (emergency applications) if they're not pregnant.

                  I actually find this quite a hard concept to explain to people that don't already get it, because we're used to rights being prohibitions against discrimination but when the whole system treats the norm as a male body it's really hard to point to discrimination that's not direct.

                  • Sabine

                    Well, men were always the default, for a while we thought we were humans with equal rights, but essentially we are defective men and they really can't be bothered pretending that we are not. But ideally we are quiet, seen but not heard, and if we dont' survive childbirth, could we please die silently and without making too much of a mess. And no painkillers for that little hussy too lest she just wants to get high. We can't have that.

                    I am really of the opinion that should she stay in Afghanistan and have her child there – the Medicins sans Frontiers are still there, she could do tremendous good in pointing out in images the shit show that is life as a woman in Afghanistan – oppressed on accounts of sex. And i believe that the Taliban would not let her be harmed in any ways, she would be good PR for them and their humanity and kindness towards unmarried pregnant women.

                    But i understand why she would rather come home. I totally do, and fwiw, it takes guts to do what she did, as she would have known that there will be many who are more interested in blaming and vilifying her for her predicament rather then the system that put her in that predicament.

                    Last, it would be interesting to see what are the grounds of approval / rejection for emergency allocation of that sacred and scarce MIQ space.

                  • mpledger

                    You're swaying me. But, if a pregnant women comes back to NZ under emergency criteria, is she allowed to leave NZ before she gives birth?

                    • Sabine

                      are you implying that she would do that and on what grounds are you believing it?

                    • mpledger

                      No, it's a general question. Not about a particular person.

                    • weka

                      But, if a pregnant women comes back to NZ under emergency criteria, is she allowed to leave NZ before she gives birth?

                      Yes. We can't lock pregnant women in the country while we let non-pregnant women and men leave.

                      We certainly can't do that when people are leaving for things like holidays.

                    • weka

                      I'm tempted to day that I can't imagine a woman doing that all things considered but then there's always someone doing something stupid to prove you wrong.

                      I do think pregnant women are among the more trusted people to do the right thing generally, self preservation and very long evolutionary pressure to protect the unborn child.

                    • mpledger

                      If a business has a pregnant woman then they can send her back and forth to Australia to work and she'll always be guaranteed a spot as an emergency case under your scenario. If the options are getting fired or traveling then she may feel she has too.

                      If a 50 year old man with kidney disease and 25 year old pregnant women have the same probability of death in the next 6 months, which one should be given an emergency MIQ spot?

                    • Belladonna

                      Both should have priority over an MP taking a holiday to see family overseas.

                    • mpledger

                      Well, I agree with that. But the biggest risk for all three is probably the flight.

                    • weka

                      that's a good point. Don't know how that would work with in real life.

                      MiQ isn't so short of places that they have to choose between pregnant women and people needing medical treatment. Take some places away from the DJs etc.

                    • weka

                      But the biggest risk for all three is probably the flight.

                      Unless there is a serious pregnancy complication and then it's too late.

                      They should have a system that lets pregnant women come home as soon as possible.

                    • mpledger

                      The problem is that the two groups of people don't apply at the same time. When non-emergency cases apply it can be entirely different conditions then when emergency cases apply. What seems reasonable at one point, may not seem reasonable at the second.

                    • mpledger

                      Unless the man has kidney complications and then it's too late.

                  • mpledger

                    The point about the comparison between two people is that it is a really hard question to answer and people obviously don't want to answer. But we have made the ministries make those tough decisions while trying to balance cost, safety for everyone and fairness.

                    • weka

                      If there were only two places and it was a choice between the kidney disease person and the pregnant woman, I'd say look at individual circumstances. But I'd also say look at how many emergency spots there are. And pregnant women should have their own criteria.

  16. Dennis Frank 16

    Luxon said the situation was a "no-brainer". "How you can not have a pregnant New Zealander, unmarried, living in Afghanistan, not coming home is a big challenge and that should be expedited as quickly as possible.

    https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/01/31/hipkins-responds-to-plight-of-kiwi-journalist-in-afghanistan/

    Yeah, obviously! That'll be the response of ordinary kiwis everywhere. Hipkins trying to weasel out of it is an own-goal for Labour.

    That said, it's possible that Labour have decided to give Luxon the best possible start to the year for tactical reasons. They have a track record of masking left/right collusion with an unconvincing semblance of political competition.

    Note how Luxon didn't point to the sexism proven by the stats (10% of pregnant applicants being authorised to return) since he must defend the patriarchy in solidarity with Labour. Instead, he pushed the common sense button by using everyday emotional intelligence that both men & women can readily agree with. First sign of competent framing from the guy…

    • joe90 16.1

      Hipkins trying to weasel out of it is an own-goal for Labour.

      Noting that Bellis doesn't get to call the fucking tune isn't an own-goal for Labour.

      • Sabine 16.1.1

        What about all the other women, they don't count? they too are just there making the government look bad with their need and their idiotic idea of citizenship rights of return to their home country to either give birth here, or for them wanting their overseas stuck partners to come home.

        • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.1

          Yeah I don't see this issue at all about Bellis. Sure she has the ability to influence and get in the media and everything else but sometimes that is what it takes to get change.

          • Ad 16.1.1.1.1

            This policy won't change until Omicron's wave has passed.

            And there's a pretty high likelihood I'd suggest that the date for the manage-at-home option will be pushed out if we go to several hundred cases a day.

  17. Ross 17

    Human rights lawyer Frances Joychild QC said the Government was breaching Bellis’ human rights by not allowing her back home.

    Joychild previously represented pregnant woman Bergen Graham, who was stuck in El Salvador while pregnant and denied an MIQ spot six times.

    Joychild filed a judicial review claim on behalf of Graham, and shortly after her allocation was granted.

    Six times rejected but upon filing a judicial review application, she was allowed back home. How cruel and depressing that a person – a pregnant woman no less – has to take legal action just so they can return home.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/127648054/charlotte-bellis-covid19-ministers-statement-on-miq-incredibly-disrespectful

  18. Adrian 18

    Maybe a lot of the non-approvals are because the woman who is pregnant has a settled life in the country they reside in , i.e house, job, other children but wish to fly into NZ to have the birth, free I might add, and fly back again.
    What part of it being a global pandemic don’t they some people get, one could not get this kind of personalised service in a global war.

    The problematical questions with Charlotte Bellis that I have trouble with is that she and her dodgy lawyer ( see above, on how to game the MIQ system ) are trying to manipulate the system to suit her whims. More little bits of info come out daily, now not previously mentioned , apparently she flew into Afghanistan with her partner who is working there. Is she insisting on trying to get a Belgian National into NZ as well? And why a demanded time frame, is that when his contract possibly expires ? My bet is that MOBIE officials know a lot more than they are allowed to let on.

    • Belladonna 18.1

      And maybe they're not.

      Maybe the MBIE bureaucrats are just a hide-bound and misogynistic as they're appearing in the media.

      We can all do the 'reckons'

      10% of approvals is a pretty low total. And whether or not you approve of Bellis – it's only her media profile which is getting this discussed at all. 'Ordinary' pregnant women just get slammed by the system and have no voice.

      And, yes, when you are desperate, you have a huge incentive to 'game the system'. You might want to think about that word: desperate.

      Maybe Labour MPs shouldn't be taking a nice holiday to visit family overseas – and leave the MIQ spaces for those who really need them.

    • Anne 18.2

      "My bet is that MOBIE officials know a lot more than they are allowed to let on."

      I bet they do. But it will come out eventually and all the nay-sayers will shut up.

      There's a handful of commenters who are determined to view our criticism of one woman's mode of conduct as a "pox on all pregnant women who want to come home." Funnily enough we – and others – are effectively arguing the case for them.

      It is my view that this entitled woman – despite her protests to the contrary – has not done them a favour.

  19. higherstandard 19

    I find it depressing that this even needs to be discussed.

    Any and all pregnant citizens or residents of NZ should have the right to return to NZ at any and all times.

    • mpledger 19.1

      But you have to balance that against the safety of society in NZ. If we let 500,000 people into NZ all at once, 10% of them with an infectious disease then society would collapse under the weight of illness.

      • Belladonna 19.1.1

        Seriously doubt that there are 500,000 pregnant Kiwis overseas desperate to return.

        If you are arguing that people with medical conditions should be prioritized for limited MIQ spaces over entertainers and MPs going on a nice family holiday – then we are on the same page….

        • mpledger 19.1.1.1

          Mis-read it as any residents of NZ should have the right to come back. 500,000 is overstating but I would be surprised that if MIQ were turned off that there would be well over 50,000 wanting to come back.

  20. Adrian 20

    Of course they should HS, but not to demand a bespoke service especially catered for personal whims. That’s the very definition of entitledness.

    • Belladonna 20.1

      So sorry. Not seeing the demand for a 'bespoke service' catering for 'personal whims'.

      Bellis applied under the emergency medical criteria (as she was told to do) – where is the bespoke element here?

      All pregnant women who are not entitled to medical care in the country they happen to be residing in, should be able to schedule a safe return to NZ. Full stop.

      • Anne 20.1.1
        1. If you can't see her 'demand for a bespoke service" then you need your eyes tested.
        1. She applied for an emergency placing and by the sounds of it made a complete hash of it.
        2. She chose to return to a country without medical back-up services of her own free will and knowing she was pregnant.

        Finally, all this argy-bargy might be null and void because I heard on RNZ this morning that the government and health officials have been working on a new system since late last year and are expecting to make it public in a few days.

        • Sabine 20.1.1.1

          the Government is gonna change something in a few days after someone raised a ruckus? lol. Lol

          and yeah, Anne she did apply for a bespoke service. The bespoke service that comes with being a Citizen of NZ and with that comes the right to return. And fwiw, she choose to return to a country with no maternity care what so ever, because she had no Visa to stay anywhere else, and NZ did let her come back home. So what is she to do Anne? She is essentially now a stateless person, and thus she can take up any country that offers her Asylum. Think of that Anne, that a women might get so desperate for a Visa that she took up the Taliban on their offer. lol………..Can't wait to see that movie.

        • Belladonna 20.1.1.2

          Maybe it's you that need your eyes tested. Bellis isn't demanding services only for her. She's drawing attention to the fact that she, and all other pregnant women, have been systemically failed by the current MBIE emergency allocation.

          This case has highlighted that the current MIQ emergency allocation criteria are not fit for purpose when it comes to pregnant women.
          In almost every case, by the time you have a medical emergency, it is too late to fly at all – and certainly too late to fly safely. Until you have the medical emergency, you have a 'perfectly normal healthy pregnancy' – and therefore, according to commenters above – no need to come back to NZ urgently. Which is, no doubt, why MBIE routinely deny emergency places (note that there is no other emergency criteria they can apply under)
          Talk about a Catch-22.

          If a well-educated, highly-motivated woman 'makes a hash' of her application – don't you think that that's an indication that the bureaucracy may just be a little too arcane. You shouldn't need to hire an immigration lawyer to make sure you tick all of their little boxes.

          The only criteria that her application failed on (or at least the only one publicised) was the flight within 14 days. Which is the most bureaucratically nitpicky thing to fail anyone over.

          And, if the government and health officials are working on a new system, and are expecting to make it public imminently – it seems as though they (even if not you) recognize that there are serious flaws in the current regime.

          • Ross 20.1.1.2.1

            I have to agree, Bella.

            Bellis reportedly sent 59 documents with her application. If 59 were insufficient, how many should she have sent to get across the line?

            In early Sept 2021, it was reported that Bergen Graham, assessed as high risk, had been denied access to MIQ on six occasions. She subsequently took legal action and secured a MIQ spot “within 24 hours” of launching such action. It’s curious that that ruckus didn’t lead to urgent action to improve accessibility to MIQ.

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/09/high-risk-pregnant-kiwi-woman-trapped-in-us-given-miq-spot-after-launching-legal-action-against-mbie.html

            • mpledger 20.1.1.2.1.1

              It didn't matter how many she sent because she didn't get rejected on her documentation.

            • Muttonbird 20.1.1.2.1.2

              The number of documents sent is no guarantee the application is sound. Fact is there was a requirement for travel within 14 days for the application. Bellis ignored that.

              Her movement since has been to push for pregnant Kiwis overseas to be able to travel to NZ when they like, in an active pandemic.

          • mpledger 20.1.1.2.2

            The problem is that if you allow people to apply at any time then the volume of applications goes way up which increases the cost and the strain on resources. Also, the type of emergency can change radically in three or four weeks and so more people will pull-out leaving empty rooms – they can try and refill them but people can't get things organised with three or four days notice.

          • Anne 20.1.1.2.3

            Maybe it's you that need your eyes tested. Bellis isn't demanding services only for her. She's drawing attention to the fact that she, and all other pregnant women, have been systemically failed by the current MBIE emergency allocation.

            Yep. I was expecting someone to come up with that one.

            She is an entitled woman who was trying to manipulate the system to suit herself… to the point of [deleted]The plight of other pregnant women was a walking stick she grabbed when her story went viral. “In for a penny in for a pound” as the old saying goes.

            Her latest weapon is to [deleted] That is a bald faced lie. I read his press statement which was released a couple of days ago and had been his only comment up until the question asked today. It was mild and reasonable. [deleted]

            The statement was online 2 days ago but seems to have disappeared – [deleted] . It won’t happen because he never smeared her [deleted] She either dreamt it or is playing DP games. I suspect the latter and so do a lot of other people.

            [next time post the links as required and I won’t have to hack out the rumours being presented as facts. Maybe next time I just delete the whole comment instead of wasting my time. You cannot say you weren’t warned. – weka]

            • weka 20.1.1.2.3.1

              Mod note

              • Anne

                Except they're not 'rumours". I don't deal in "rumours" They've been reported online, in newspapers and on TV and radio. Shouldn't need to link every mortal thing when they have been widely reported. Moderators would be criticising us for overdoing it.

                https://thespinoff.co.nz/live-updates/02-02-2022/hipkins-denies-that-he-smeared-charlotte-bellis-over-miq-dispute

                • Anne

                  Timed out. I managed to locate the above quickly. Still think they're just rumours?

                  Oh and btw, she was offered an MIQ place which had to be taken up in 14 days. She is said to have turned it down because she didn’t want to return before the end of February. The reason was not stated. I’m not hunting for the link.

                  • weka

                    The only reason I'm not deleting that as well is because it's the perfect example of rumour.

                    "She is said…"

                    There is no way to know if your claim is true, inaccurate because of memory or intepretation, or just plain wrong. When people make statements like that in fast moving or intense debates, the conversations go round in circles or get derailed and by the time something gets corrected it's too late.

                    This is what happens on social media and in a more extreme form is part of why we have so much disinformation.

                    • Muttonbird

                      With respect weka. There is a major moderation inconsistency here. You have piled on Anne immediately, but issued very gentle advice to Blade for, in my opinion, far worse infractions of stated policy breach.

                    • weka

                      You want to talk about something and you’re not even linking to it, when I’ve just talked about why linking matters? What are you referring to?

                      If you look back at Anne's commenting under this post, you will see it hasn't been immediately. Look at how I moderated other people under this post for the same issue.

                • weka

                  Here's what I said in the post,

                  Note: if you want to comment on this post, please provide evidence for any claims of fact. This means an explanation of your point, appropriate quotes and links. This is doubly so for anything being said about Charlotte Bellis. You must provide support for your assertions at the time of commenting. Expect to be moderated if you don’t. This isn’t FB, nor a rumour mill, we have a high standard of debate expectation here. Robust debate is welcome. I will also moderate for overt sexism and misogyny.

                  What didn't you understand about that?

                  It's rumour until you can back it up (or, I have no way of knowing if it's rumour or not, and neither does anyone else). I'm done with asking for this repeatedly. When people come into a controversial debate and make claims and reckons and don't back them up we spend way too much time trying to get to the bottom of stuff people say. This is even worse for moderators.

                  I spent two days of the original debate chasing up what people were saying and what had happened, and a lot of people were just saying random stuff that was wrong. I'm not going to watch a video or read an article to see if a commenter is accurate or not, it's on the commenter to back up their claim of fact. This means if you post a video, you have to put your explanation, the link and a time stamp. Yes, it takes work. It took me a morning to write the post. This is how we get robust debate.

                  The Policy says,

                  This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so. Such comments may be deleted without warning or one of the alternatives below may be employed. The action taken is completely up to the moderator who takes it.

                • weka

                  no idea what that video is supposed to be backing up, because you haven't said.

                  • Anne

                    That video confirms she had accused Hipkins of smearing her in his press statement which you deleted. That video confirms she had threatened legal action over that statement which you also deleted. I was planning to provide a link to that statement but it had disappeared – presumably because it would be a principle piece of evidence if there was a court case. I referenced as much in the last paragraph. I think I used the word "probably". Is that a reason for deletion?

                    Yes. I have used strong language and I make no apology for them. Some commenters have been grossly unfair in their criticisms of Ardern and Hipkins in particular over this issue on your post and OM, and cannot back up their hypothesis but apparently that is okay.

                    Belladonna said in a response to me:

                    And, if the government and health officials are working on a new system, and are expecting to make it public imminently – it seems as though they (even if not you) recognize that there are serious flaws in the current regime.

                    Since I'm on record on TS as being fully supportive of pregnant women being being able to return and have noted how distressed I would be in the same situation… that comment was uncalled for.

                    It seems some people can't conceive of the difference between commenting on the general issue of pregnant women wanting to come home and a specific case where the person used questionable tactics and then tried to blame others for her own actions.

                    And btw I have not made a single claim that has not been backed up here on TS and elsewhere.

                    [I’ve responded below, but if you waste any more of my time on this issue about backing up, I will ban you – weka]

                    • Belladonna

                      And this was in response to your comment, Anne:

                      "Finally, all this argy-bargy might be null and void because I heard on RNZ this morning that the government and health officials have been working on a new system since late last year and are expecting to make it public in a few days."

                      If you have, indeed, been supportive of pregnant women being able to return to NZ, on TS – then it would be good to link to this.

                      Because every comment you've made under this post has been relentlessly negative. And Weka's post was specifically about pregnant women's treament in MBIE emergency allocation of MIQ spaces in general (with Bellis as a trigger for discussion)

                      And you have failed, completely, to address why (if the MIQ allocation criteria are fit for purpose for pregnant women), there have only been 11% of successful applications under the emergency criteria – which is way below the average.

                      Even if you believe Bellis is [insert slur of your choosing] – this doesn't negate the issue that she's raised for *all other* pregnant women. It is perfectly possible to dislike/disbelieve Bellis, but acknowledge that her claims have highlighted serious inequity in MIQ emergency allocation.

                      Evidence of this is the number of pregnant Kiwis denied entry to NZ now emerging in the media – like it or not, a high-profile case is likely to attract media attention, and gives the opportunity to highlight a more general need.

                      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/460598/miq-for-pregnancy-growing-calls-to-prioritise-rooms-for-expectant-mums

                      And, please note, that there have been multiple links to earlier cases (nothing to do with Bellis) under this post – which have *not* resulted in MIQ policy being changed. This is not a new situation. And the government have had well over 6 months to address it – if they believed it was a priority. In fact, they did consider it, and rejected it.

                      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/127642726/mbie-considered-new-pregnancy-emergency-miq-allocation-criteria-decided-against-making-changes

                    • weka

                      That video confirms she had accused Hipkins of smearing her in his press statement which you deleted. That video confirms she had threatened legal action over that statement which you also deleted.

                      Good. Next time provide all this in one comment: your point, a link to back it up (and timestamp if it's a video), and any quotes if it's an article. Your comments were deleted because you didn't do that.

                      I was planning to provide a link to that statement but it had disappeared – presumably because it would be a principle piece of evidence if there was a court case. I referenced as much in the last paragraph. I think I used the word "probably". Is that a reason for deletion?

                      I deleted assertions of fact without evidence as per the mod note on the post.

                      Yes. I have used strong language and I make no apology for them.

                      I don't give a flying fuck about your strong language or your political views. I care about you a) ignoring moderation b) thinking you are somehow special and don't need follow the rules and c) wasting my goddamn time. Next time I do another round of this with you I will just ban you so I don't have to keep saying the same shit again and again.

                      Some commenters have been grossly unfair in their criticisms of Ardern and Hipkins in particular over this issue on your post and OM, and cannot back up their hypothesis but apparently that is okay.

                      I can't moderate every time someone does this, and indeed it's not an absolute rule. You will notice that you made claims in this post that I didn't call you out on, or that I asked for references and you ignored. So maybe focus on your own behaviour first.

                      Belladonna said in a response to me:

                      And, if the government and health officials are working on a new system, and are expecting to make it public imminently – it seems as though they (even if not you) recognize that there are serious flaws in the current regime.

                      That's her opinion. Maybe you don't understand the difference.

                      Since I'm on record on TS as being fully supportive of pregnant women being being able to return and have noted how distressed I would be in the same situation… that comment was uncalled for.

                      I don't care (and honestly, without a link, I don't even know what you are talking about). All sorts of stuff on TS gets said all the time that upsets people.

                      It seems some people can't conceive of the difference between commenting on the general issue of pregnant women wanting to come home and a specific case where the person used questionable tactics and then tried to blame others for her own actions.

                      Again, that's the politics, I don't care. I'm talking about TS rules which you seem to think don't apply to you.

                      And btw I have not made a single claim that has not been backed up here on TS and elsewhere.

                      Anne, no-one else can see what you wrote or what you remember from another time. In this thread I asked for people to provide evidence as they go. I've already explained why.

                    • weka

                      mod note.

                    • DukeEll

                      Why do you get so vicious and feral, attacking any young women who may be critical of the Labour Party? You’ve really dived deep in this

                    • Anne

                      Belladonna @ 8:43am 3 Feb.

                      If you have, indeed, been supportive of pregnant women being able to return to NZ, on TS – then it would be good to link to this.

                      Have a look at 12.1 on this post. I'll save you the bother:

                      Most of us who have commented negatively have every sympathy for pregnant women wanting to return to NZ to have their babies. God, I know how distressed I would feel in such a situation and unable to return.

                      My quarrel is the way she has gone about it…..

                      I did not join in this conversation until I read Ad's comment @ 12 where he provided the official evidence and mused on them. I repeated them albeit in my own words. Perhaps some need to go back and read Ad again.

    • Delia 20.2

      You think us pakeha women are just entitled little princess's don't you. I have no idea why New Zealand women have children anymore, the govt cannot even give them the privacy of female loos anymore and that is just for starters.

  21. Adrian 21

    A brilliant piece of journalism/commentary on Stuff today, by Muzhgan Samargandi an Afghani journalist now in Nz ( sorry my appalling 24/7 internet ,works for 7 minutes every 24 doesn’t seem to let me link ) is very disappointed in Charlotte Bellis and anyone defending her should read it and feel humbled.

      • Belladonna 21.1.1

        " I presume her Belgian partner will not be accompanying her when she does return. Speaking from experience I wouldn't be happy with that situation."

        If the choice is between giving birth in a first world country without your partner, or a third world country, possibly with your partner present (but actually, almost certainly not, as men are routinely excluded from childbirth in Afghanistan) – I know which one I would choose.

        Healthy baby/healthy mama is the number one priority for virtually all pregnant women and their partners.

    • Jilly Bee 21.2

      Thank you Adrian, I have been wracking my brains to try and answer some of the more vitriolic comments I have read on this thread, but I'm bailing out because I do feel that Charlotte Bellis is displaying a severe case of entitlelitis but as has been mentioned previously, just because her pregnancy is trouble free now, anything could go awry at any time and it would be advantageous for her to get back to NZ before air travel is out of the question. I presume her Belgian partner will not be accompanying her when she does return. Speaking from experience I wouldn't be happy with that situation. My first son was born in a country maternity hospital in early 1969 and husbands were a no no. However my second son was born at another country maternity hospital in the same area in 1970 and my husband was able to be with me which I appreciated immensly (and no, he didn't faint when birth was imminent as I thought he might!) https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300507802/how-charlotte-bellis-story-risks-trivialising-the-taliban

      • Belladonna 21.2.1

        " I presume her Belgian partner will not be accompanying her when she does return. Speaking from experience I wouldn't be happy with that situation."

        If the choice is between giving birth in a first world country without your partner, or a third world country, possibly with your partner present (but actually, almost certainly not, as men are routinely excluded from childbirth in Afghanistan) – I know which one I would choose.

        Healthy baby/healthy mama is the number one priority for virtually all pregnant women and their partners.

        • Sabine 21.2.1.1

          And for what its worth, her Belgian partner would not be accepted into NZ without a valid visa. Just like Charlotte Bellis is not allowed in Belgium without that valid visa/residence permit.

    • Dennis Frank 21.3

      Beats me why you believe projecting your feelings onto others is appropriate! I had a look and was struck by the woman's lack of empathy – although she made a point of conceding common ground in a few places.

      Charlotte says the Taliban have given her a safe haven when she is not welcome in her own country. This is obviously a good headline and a good way to make a point. But it is an inaccurate and unhelpful representation of the situation.

      Only inaccurate if the assurance of safety Charlotte was given by the liaison person in the Taliban leadership was false. We have no evidence of that. She may be naive to trust it, but it's just as likely she currently has no other workable option.

      • weka 21.3.1

        I think the point implied is that the Taliban gave her some assurances of safety because she's not a very critical journalist when it comes to the Taliban (in the opinion of the Afghan woman).

        It's not true that she's not welcome in NZ.

        • Sabine 21.3.1.1

          Well she might be welcome by her family and friends, but the government agency that dispenses emergency vouchers for MIQ did not welcome her back to NZ.

          So while it might be a bit emotional it is also not uncorrect, and it is up to her to describe her feelings in the words that she sees fit. It is however quite inconvenient for a government that prides itself on a non male leader who even gave birth during her first term and that likes to preach a lot about kindness. And that is the only issue really, innit, the fact that this pesky women makes this government look bad, hard and cold. And that goes against the official narrative of kind and nice.

  22. Adrian 22

    Dennis, you obviously can’t read, no surprises there.

    • Dennis Frank 22.1

      You thick or something? Expecting others to read text same as you is irrational. We all interpret in accord with what we already know & believe, and we are all unique. Try to focus on common ground, huh? 🙄

  23. Sabine 23

    And for what its worth, her Belgian partner would not be accepted into NZ without a valid visa. Just like Charlotte Bellis is not allowed in Belgium without that valid visa/residence permit.

  24. weka 24

    • Dennis Frank 24.1

      I'm wondering about this apparent lack of liaison. I get the arrogance of the bureaucrats since my way or the highway is addictive for them. Takes two to tango & we lack sufficient info to decide which of the two is not wanting to tango and it could be both.

      Perhaps her lawyer is keen to fight it to the Supreme Court. Dunno how it would decide if sovereignty were to be put against international law. Civil rights, or obedience to the state? Would be a terrific legal fight.

  25. weka 25

  26. georgecom 26

    a few comments myself.

    First MIQ has fairly much reached its use by date. It has done reasonably well and more or less served the purpose it had. Never perfect of course, but on balance quite successful for what it was set to do.

    There have been casualties of the MIQ system and it has caused anguish and hurt for many people overseas wanting to get home. That is part of the big covid system. Covid and how we have been forced to react as a country and as a global population has caused anguish and hurt and dislocation the world over. Everyone has a covid story. Charlotte Bellis is far from unique.

    MIQ has always been about balancing up competing demands. A pregnant woman getting a spot might mean a kiwi stuck in Aussie for 5 months misses out, or someone coming home to see their dying parent. That person may mean a foreign nurse who is badly needed in a hospital misses out, and if they get a spot a worker desperately needed in agriculture may miss out. That agriculture worker may have taken up a room which a kiwi family with covid could have isolated in. It's a rationed system. I can understand why people may be frustrated and vent. As I said above, everyone has a covid story. It can be tough, and for some people I have no idea how tough it might have been, but that is the situation people are in or find themselves in.

    Being pregnant is not in itself a reason for automatic qualification to MIQ. Sure, for many parents having their kids born in NZ is a blessing, but it may not happen. If MIQ didn't allow for it to happen, it didn't allow for it to happen. If someone is in a precarious situation and falls pregnant in the likes of Syria or Afghanistan then that maybe brings other factors in to play.

    Likewise however there have been stories of kiwis getting sick overseas and unable to travel home due to MIQ. I would imagine pensioners stuck in Aussie and at risk to having the pension cut off are not fine and dandy either, or kiwis who have been stranded and living off the charity of family or facing big big debts, separated from family (spouse and kids especially). It has been shit luck for many.

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