The mother of a family charged with absconding from a Hamilton isolation hotel has lashed out at the heartless compassionate exemption system - and insists she posed no health risk to anyone.
Police said the woman and four of her children jumped a fence on Friday night to escape the facility because they wanted to see the children's father's body before his funeral.
The family is accused of forcing their way through a window before scaling a fence.
Most were quickly apprehended near Hamilton's Distinction Hotel but a teenager among the group made it all the way to Auckland.
The 37-year-old woman, together with three youths aged 18, 17 and 16, were jointly charged with failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.
A 12-year-old who also left the facility has not been charged by police.
The mother took to social media overnight to criticise the process that refused her family to right to say goodbye to the children's father after they travelled from Brisbane.
She said she had undergone another Covid test since being reacptured and it was negative.
The mother denied the move was "premeditated" in any way - and insists she understood the health risk to the public and had worn a mask while on the loose.
The woman added they only wanted one hour to view the man's body.
"That ain't to [sic] much to ask for.. we tested negative," her post said.
"What more do u want.
"You say the circumstance wasnt exceptional well put your self in my shoes bet it be exceptional then."
She said she had complied with the request for a compassionate exemption to isolation but had got nowhere.
"I didnt premeditate nothing after all the efforts made applications, phone calls to health and government officials, mps, requests with in reason, plans implemented and put forward and structured to uphold the covid safety health precautions and have the defense force and police back my applications you still said no.
"5 long days and night I did my best to follow the law and its procedures went about things the right way this time round, sleepless night preparing applications how the hell u say it was premeditated to come from Brisbane to escape.
"Yeah I really planned to go to jail and ruin my life after I've spent so long rebuilding it. If that was the case I would have gone day 1."
All the family had wanted was to spend an hour with the children's father's body, she said.
"1 hour viewing with no one in the room . That ain't to much to ask for.. we tested negativ.
"S*** needs to change no family should go through this."
Yesterday a media briefing held by the minister in charge of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Megan Woods, and Air Commodore Darryn Webb addressed what happened.
Webb told the media briefing the group involved had entered the country from Brisbane on flight NZ146 on July 21.
Webb said their request for an exemption from isolation to attend the funeral was refused because they had not taken a day-three Covid-19 test.
The health risk was deemed too high to grant their application at that time.
A further request was made to view the body of the deceased relative, which the Ministry of Health was working to organise, Webb said.
Webb said the family was told their application was "looking positive" with a decision to be made by 8pm.
The family's negative tests were received that afternoon.
But before the final decision had been made, people were seen climbing over the perimeter fence of the Distinction Hotel at 6.58pm.
An NZDF staffer and a police officer gave chase.
Webb confirmed the family would have been given an exemption to go and view the body of the deceased relative, and then would be taken back to isolation.
When asked if the family had ruined their chances of seeing the body, Webb said: "I think the answer is absolutely."
Yesterday morning, the mother and three of the children faced court as the funeral went ahead in Auckland.
The 37-year-old appeared in Hamilton District Court via video link, wearing a face mask.
The woman cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, two of whom are minors.