Whanganui's Norman Gruebsch is in an MIQ facility in Auckland after visiting his partner in Stuttgart, Germany.
Because of Covid-19 it was the first time the couple had seen each other for 18 months.
Gruebsch said he and his partner Peggy Stavridis applied for a critical purpose visa for her in January, but they didn't meet the criteria.
"I was incredibly lucky to get this spot in MIQ, and I'm very grateful that my employer let me go to see her," Gruebsch said.
"The week after I booked, everything was gone. There's a massive bottleneck at MIQ, but it's part of what we do here in New Zealand at the moment, and it's part of our elimination strategy."
Gruebsch, Whanganui District Council's active transport facilitator, said only around a dozen people were in Auckland Airport when he departed.
"The flight was pretty much empty, which was astounding.
"I was surprised how well everything organised was, all the way through Singapore and on to Stuttgart.
"You had to wear a mask on the plane obviously, and the only time you could take it off was when you had food. All the attendants were pretty much in full PPE gear as well. Check-in and customs were seamless.
"There was certainly no fear, anxiety or stress though, everything was pretty relaxed."
He said his time in Germany had given him experience of how a country lived with Covid-19 "as opposed to trying to eliminate it", and he wondered how sustainable New Zealand's tight border restrictions were long term.
The last time he checked, around 65 per cent of Germany's total population had had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
A similar percentage or hopefully more in New Zealand was the only way forward for the country, Gruebsch said.
"From memory, elimination [of Covid-19] was never a possibility in Germany, especially with the open borders in Europe.
"I found it quite refreshing in some ways, compared to New Zealand. Because of that relatively high vaccination percentage, they are shifting from just looking at case numbers to looking at hospitalisation rates per capita.
"From there they're making decisions on whether to implement more stringent restrictions such as regional lockdowns or not.
"Society seems to be going on as usual there. There are masks and social distancing, but it doesn't seem to distress people. My friends and family follow New Zealand's outbreak, and they find it astounding how we do it here, how we are so stringent."
In Gruebsch's view, New Zealand was "playing catch up" with other parts of the world, and the elimination strategy was compounding the mental health crisis that the country already faced.
"I don't know how long we can do this for. I think there about 1 million Kiwis living overseas, and a third of our population was born overseas, I'm one of them.
"We are a travelling nation, whether that be for whānau reasons or for business, and in my personal view it's getting to the point where that stress is really showing.
"New Zealanders have the right to come home, and I find it distressing that they can't. The MIQ system just doesn't keep up with demand. I was one of the lucky ones."
Joint head of MIQ Megan Main told NZME last week the current community outbreak meant MIQ needed to carefully manage capacity as community members entered facilities to quarantine.
"We understand that it is stressful for people trying to secure a room when demand is high. We know that many people are constantly refreshing the website looking for rooms."
Gruebsch said the Government would have to make uncomfortable, harsh decisions at some point.
"Will we win the battle with Delta? We would be the only country in the world who did."
Gruebsch said he and Stavridis were in the relationship for the long haul, and the plan was still for her to spend an extended period of time in New Zealand.
"Whanganui is home for me, my kids and my job are here, and my focus in life is Whanganui.
"If we can find a way for her to come here for six months or so, so she can see if this is her place too, then we can go from there."