It's not often I get to say this but I've got good news: you can stop commenting/emailing about how Lorde got to skip MIQ to come sing at Jacinda Ardern's wedding.
We've received dozens of those messages, comments and emails lately, with many people with issues with their caps lock key, wondering why we are "covering up" Lorde's MIQ exemption and why we're not asking the real hard-hitting questions.
And while we know better than to assume that just because something is confirmed to be untrue, it does not mean it'll suddenly stop spreading, the Herald has confirmed Lorde did, in fact, complete her MIQ stay upon arrival in New Zealand, as mandated by the Government.
A theory that the singer had managed to skip MIQ started circulating on social media in December around the time Lorde sent out a newsletter to fans, letting them know she was back in Aotearoa.
Around the same time she sent the newsletter, Lorde was also spotted in Grey Lynn, Takapuna and some other very Lorde-y places. From that, and really not much else, a low-level conspiracy theory was born. I say low-level because this conspiracy theory is at least not getting anyone to drink their own urine, but it is getting some people very angry indeed.
To give people the benefit of the doubt, I went and read Lorde's email to her fans, in which she announced she was lucky to be spending Christmas with her family in New Zealand. I was expecting her to admit in it that she had got her mate Jacinda to give her a free pass into New Zealand, no MIQ necessary, because I'd seen tweets and comments from people stating that Lorde had said that herself.
What I found was not nearly as juicy as that. She goes on about the solstice and being in touch with nature and how nice it is to be back in New Zealand and says that she is back in the country "by some stroke of good fortune".
Anyone who's tried to get an MIQ spot knows that getting one of those slots is the very definition of "stroke of good fortune" but some people woke up that morning and chose anger so, instead, they decided that it probably meant she got to skip MIQ altogether.
(Just to be clear: she didn't.)
Lorde's family lives in New Zealand, she had shows scheduled around the country for February and March (which, granted, have since been postponed) and New Zealand is, objectively, a pretty sweet place to come to, especially if you're looking to escape winter and risk a bit of sunburn instead of risking Covid. It's not really that far-fetched to imagine she'd be trying to get an MIQ slot ahead of time. And listen, rich people get to jump queues and get stuff they don't deserve all the time but can we save our energy for the (many, many) times when that does actually happen rather than these made-up internet scenarios?
Lorde's only sin appears to be that she is reportedly set to sing at the Prime Minister's wedding, which hasn't even happened yet. That alone seems to be the only reason people would find it suspicious that she managed to make it back home for the holidays.
I get that MIQ, while truly lifesaving for a lot of us inside "Fortress New Zealand", is an utterly flawed system with many issues that need addressing. It has worked at keeping New Zealanders safe inside the country (we only have to look at the number of cases of Omicron in MIQ) but it has come at the expense of many New Zealanders abroad, who deserve the right to come home. Questioning the way the MIQ works is a very legitimate - and necessary thing to do - for the sake of those it has been keeping out of New Zealand. However, making up theories about celebrities skipping it does not help. In fact, it distracts from the real issues and erases the plight of many Kiwis stuck overseas.
Spreading misinformation and made-up theories about a celebrity skipping MIQ just because you don't like the wedding she's singing at does nothing to address the real issues with the system - and, in fact, it is a disservice to those people who are locked out of New Zealand, struggling to return home, at the mercy of a lottery that often makes them feel like second-class citizens.
Instead of focusing on made-up unverified theories about random celebrities, can we pay attention to those very real people instead?