Outspoken UK media pundit Dan Wootton says the fact a Kiwi journalist had to ask for help from the Taliban because she can't return to New Zealand is a case of yet "more unimaginable cruelty" from Jacinda Ardern.
New Zealander Wootton is a former executive editor at British paper The Sun, who broke the story that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were leaving the UK, and has taken frequent pot shots at the Government's managed isolation system.
Today he added his voice to critics of the Government's decision to reject an application by Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis for an MIQ spot, tweeting "There's nothing kind about Dear Leader Ardern".
Bellis is expecting her first child - a daughter - in May, and today wrote an open letter in the Weekend Herald detailing how she was not granted an emergency room in MIQ.
She was refused because she didn't plan to return to New Zealand within 14 days and because her trip wasn't to attend a "scheduled medical treatment" among other reasons.
She is currently pregnant in Afghanistan, but not married to her partner, a Belgian photographer.
That could potentially put her at risk in the strictly religious country, while Kabul's health system is ravaged with its maternity hospital battling frequent power outages.
GB News presenter Wootton, who was born in New Zealand, tweeted that Bellis' story is "more unimaginable cruelty from Jacinda Ardern in her hermit kingdom".
"The full story is astonishing and very much worth your time," he tweeted.
"This is what New Zealand passport holders are having to endure, even though it is a legal right for us to return. Ardern's Government is clearly breaking the law."
A spokesperson for Ardern said her office would "pass on responding" to Wootton's tweet.
Opposition politicians within New Zealand have also been quick to criticise the situation.
National's Covid-19 Response spokesman Chris Bishop, himself an expectant father - wife Jenna Raeburn is pregnant with their first child - said he had "huge sympathy" for Bellis and "all New Zealanders caught in these awful situations".
"We need a clear plan from the Government to end the lottery of human misery that is the MIQ system.
"I think most New Zealanders reading the story would say it's a no-brainer for her to be offered a [MIQ spot] ... that's precisely why the emergency [MIQ] allocation exists."
Act leader David Seymour said the situation was another example of how inhumane MIQ is.
"Normally I joke about the New Zealand Government being less humane than the Taliban, but sadly in this case it's true," he said.
"It's tragic, but as a local MP it's also completely unsurprising," said Seymour, who has previously been contacted by people desperate for MIQ spaces, in both beginning and end-of-life situations.
"There's no rhyme nor reason. Often people mysteriously get a spot if enough drama is made, and I've noticed the profile of a person can have an effect, too."
Christchurch-born Bellis achieved global fame last year, appearing at a Taliban press conference shortly after the regime seized power, asking them how they'd ensure the rights of women and girls.
She had been working for Qatar media outlet Al Jazeera.
But upon returning to Qatar, she discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant, despite being earlier told by doctors she was unable have children.
However, it is illegal to be pregnant and unmarried in Qatar.
She initially tried to go home to New Zealand by securing a spot in MIQ through the Government's lottery system but was unsuccessful.
Then she and her partner, New York Times photographer Jim Huylebroek, flew to his home country of Belgium.
However, New Zealanders can only spend three of every six months in Europe's Schengen zone and Bellis had eaten through half of that by the time this month came around.
"We wanted to keep time up our sleeves for an emergency, so decided to rebase," she told the Herald today.
"The problem was the only other place we had visas to live was Afghanistan."
She then called up her contacts in the Taliban and nervously asked if she and Jim would be okay spending time in the country despite being pregnant and unmarried.
Her contact assured her she would be safe.
"When the Taliban offers you - a pregnant, unmarried woman - safe haven, you know your situation is messed up," she said today.
Bellis' emergency MIQ application has now been reopened, however, after she contacted a National MP and spoke to a friend who worked in public relations.
Bellis said reopening the case simply because those speaking out on her behalf had high profiles raised ethical ethical questions.
Head of MIQ Chris Bunny told the Herald the application process was "fair and consistent", and while Bellis' submission was initially rejected because it was outside the 14-day window, the team - having noticed Bellis was in Afghanistan - stayed in touch with her to offer assistance about a new application.
"This is not uncommon and is an example of the team being helpful to New Zealanders who are in distressing situations."
While pregnancy was not considered an emergency under the MIQ criteria, people could apply where they required "time-critical medical treatment" and if they needed to return to provide "critical care" to a dependant, Bunny said.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said he asked for Bellis' situation to be reviewed on Wednesday after a "senior National MP" contacted him about it.
It "appeared at first sight to warrant further explanation", he said.
"My office passed this information on to officials to check whether the proper process was followed."