A New Zealander living in Europe was denied an emergency MIQ spot one day before his father died from terminal cancer.
Darin Paterson, formally from Christchurch, received news last week that his father was gravely ill and was sent home from Ashburton hospital.
Paterson applied for an emergency MIQ voucher, included a letter of support from his father's medical practitioner, and booked an international air ticket home, only to be turned down and told to reapply.
Darin Paterson lives in Latvia on the Baltic Sea and works as a property developer.
He previously lived in Christchurch but left the country after his home was badly affected by the earthquakes in 2011.
Three weeks ago his father Bruce Paterson was diagnosed with a cancer tumour. He was admitted to Ashburton hospital on October 1 but doctors found the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, spleen, and brain. They were left with the only option of palliative care and pain management.
Paterson immediately applied for an emergency MIQ voucher last Wednesday to get home and see his dad before he died.
He booked an air ticket two days later, on Friday October 7, expecting to be granted an emergency room.
He included in his MIQ application, a letter from his father's doctor seeking "compassionate consideration for flights for relative" for Darin to "support his father in the last stages of his life".
The letter listed his father's condition as "terminal", that he was in palliative care, and that "end of life planning has commenced".
'"Given these extenuating circumstances, we would appreciate your kind and compassionate consideration of his son's return back into the country and consider it with some urgency given the rate of deterioration".
Three days later Darin Paterson was turned down by the MIQ Emergency Allocation Team. They told him that the wording from his father's doctor was not adequate and that he would need to resubmit the correct information.
It said, "anyone applying for an emergency allocation under this category needs to supply a letter from a medical practitioner stating the close relative's medical condition is terminal and their life expectancy is six months or less."
"Unfortunately your application does not include evidence from a medical practitioner that confirms the life expectancy of your close relative."
His father passed away the following day, aged 75.
Fortunately, Paterson had spoken to his father for an hour last Saturday "describing the funny things that happened in them in the past".
"He was ready to go and I just wish I could have been there to say goodbye".
On Monday he emailed Jacinda Ardern directly, imploring her to change the government's policy for re-entry to New Zealand saying that it is "simply is not fair".
He told the Prime Minister that an "emergency request should not take this long and my father died on Sunday morning, one week from being diagnosed as terminal and enough time for me to return from Latvia to see him".
Paterson was fully vaccinated and willing to self-isolate for two weeks so as to not cause any further spreading of the disease.
He says the government has "dropped the ball" and questioned how sportspeople, entertainers, politicians get special treatment above someone wishing to see their dying parent for one last time.
Today, the Prime Ministers office replied saying "we are sorry to hear about your father" and that "it just be a difficult time for you".
They said they have passed on his concerns to the Minister responsible for Covid-19 response, Chris Hipkins, "to ensure that you hear back from someone as soon as possible".
The funeral for his father will be held in Ashburton on Thursday.
Paterson said he will watch it online and give a video eulogy, but he will miss not being with family and friends and a chance to laugh about the times they had together.