When Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins fronts the nation saying he cares about Kiwis caught out by the transtasman travel bubble pause and wants to bring them home, I believe him.
Unfortunately, the same level of respect hasn't been afforded by the public officials below him, as New Zealanders - who had been stuck in Australia for weeks - were left in the lurch recently and no one is taking responsibility.
When MIQ-free mercy flights out of New South Wales were cancelled on July 9, it was the latest in a long line of flight cancellations for many Kiwis while hunkering down in the Covid-hit state after the travel bubble paused from June 23.
Fortunately, emergency flights that required a free two-week MIQ stay on arrival were quickly arranged.
On Sunday, July 11, NSW-stranded Kiwis were told airlines would prioritise who would secure seats on these precious flights based on how long they had been waiting - music to the ears of those anxious to return home.
"If you have an existing return booking, you can expect to hear from your airline if you are allocated a seat," a July 11 update read on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.
"Airlines will prioritise those who have been waiting the longest."
Even Hipkins himself made the same promise, quoted on July 9 as saying consultation with airlines should be done using a priority system to select who would fill the then 1000 spots in MIQ opened up for people from NSW.
However, come the morning of July 12, this priority-based system was seemingly thrown out the window and replaced with a first in, first served scrabble to snatch up seats on Air New Zealand flights home.
As reported in the NZ Herald, all seats aboard these flights with the national carrier were sold within 15 minutes of them becoming available - leaving those who were either unaware or unable to book fast enough with yet more disappointment.
Barbara Moore, who spoke to the Herald on July 12, had travelled across the ditch to farewell her two brothers who had died separately in Australia in the last two years.
Together with her husband Wayne, Barbara was reassured when she saw priority would be given to long-time NSW-stranded Kiwis - the pair had been there since June 20.
If it wasn't for a message from Aotearoa-based friends, Barbara would have been totally unaware that plan had been flipped on its head.
Early on Monday, she and Wayne were waiting - iPads in hand - ready to book an emergency flight as they came available at 10am.
Despite their best efforts, they were unsuccessful.
The same happened to Taranaki farmers Rob and Alison Thwaites, who found themselves stuck in Sydney while assisting their son who had broken his neck in an AFL game.
They too had confidence they would be among those given priority to return home based on their length of stay. But just like the Moores, the Thwaites missed out.
Fortunately, both the Moores and Thwaites were able to secure later flights home based on compassionate grounds. However, that does not rule out the possibility of others in their shoes still being stuck in NSW.
The Herald asked the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Air New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Transport why the priority-based system was ditched.
Spokespeople for Mfat and MBIE said the question was better asked of Air New Zealand and the DPMC respectively.
A MoT spokesperson said airlines would manage 80 per cent of seat allocation, while the remainder was reserved for the Government to give to those with urgent or exceptional circumstances.
A spokesperson for DPMC, which managed the Unite Against Covid-19 website that outlined the priority-based approach, confirmed the advice was published but gave no explanation as to why it changed.
"Following further consultation and advice from airlines it was updated."
However, in a confusing twist, an Air New Zealand spokesperson claimed a priority-based system never existed, saying it was impossible to prioritise which New Zealanders could come back when.
"Our understanding is there was no other plan other than 'first in, first served'.
"Because returning involves a 14-day stay in MIQ, it is up to individual travellers to decide whether they would prefer to stay or return."
When both Air New Zealand and DMPC were informed of what the other had said, neither provided any explanation to their conflicting statements.
All the while, the Herald understands Qantas did operate flights from NSW to New Zealand under a priority basis - in spite of the complications imposed by limited MIQ availability.
It's easy to be confused by it all. In the space of 24 hours, this convoluted mess happened and no one is willing to clean it up.
If it walks and talks like a duck, it's probably a duck. On the surface, this situation points to a communication breakdown between public entities, poor consultation with would-be travellers or not being entirely upfront - perhaps it involves all three.
Whatever the case, this kind of shoddy operation is the last thing stressed Kiwis need, trapped in a Sydney hotel room, desperate to return home.
With stories still flowing from travellers about poor communication from airlines and ministries, the likes of Hipkins and others at the top need to ensure they are doing right by Kiwis in trouble.