Common Roll member O’love Tauveve Jacobsen has expressed her outrage that Niue medical referral patients are not being able to meet their appointments in New Zealand because of the lack of vouchers to NZ managed isolation quarantine facilities.
The veteran politician and former Dean of the New Zealand diplomatic community says that she is very sad and despondent at the treatment of Niueans particularly the plight of the medical referral patients unable to get to New Zealand.
Jacobsen told BCN news that she is beyond disappointed that the New Zealand government has started accepting refugees into New Zealand again, while its own citizens who are in need of medical care in New Zealand are ‘put on the backburner’.
“I am very disappointed at the decisions of the New Zealand government not to include Niue with the Cook Islands travel bubble with one way quarantine free travel”.
“Niue and the Cook Islands are both New Zealand realm countries and I cannot understand why both could not have started the quarantine free travel at the same time.”
On Friday last week, Jacobsen was a guest on BCN’s Radio News and Current affairs program where she was asked to weigh in on the situation, to which she responded that by convention it is the prerogative of the Niue Premier to discuss these matters with his counterpart, the New Zealand Prime Minister.
According to Jacobsen, the situation warrants a discussion at a leader’s level and not at the officials level because this is a matter of health and well being of New Zealand citizens living in Niue.
The Cook Islands started their quarantine free travel to New Zealand last month while Niue government officials are still in negotiations with New Zealand officials to start a similar arrangement.
Premier Tagelagi last week updated the Fono Ekepule that the one way travel quarantine free travel for Niue is progressing with officials doing a walk through at Auckland airport. He also mentioned that Dr. Colin Tukuitoga is also assisting from New Zealand.
However, the prominent Niuean doctor and academic at Auckland University Dr. Colin Tukuitoga told BCN news that no one from Niue government has been in contact with him. Meanwhile Dr. Tukuitoga was contacted by the Cook Islands last year to help them with their travel bubble and he is the Team Leader now working on the two-way quarantine free or travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
Jacobsen told BCN news that Niue should have been included with the same travel bubble as both countries are in the realm of New Zealand.
The plight of medical referral patients from Niue was raised by the director of Health Dr. Eddie Akauola and first revealed by BCN news last year and last week as the situation had only gotten worse, with patients unable to leave the island because of the lack of vouchers.