Kiwi in quarantine pleads with Government for right to visit dying mother

A Kiwi woman in quarantine who's fighting for the right to visit her dying mother is pleading with the Government to "put itself in her position". 

Renee West says her quarantine exemption was declined and time is quickly running out.

West arrived in New Zealand on April 25 and is now on day 10 of her two-week quarantine in an Auckland hotel. The only way she can see her dying mother is through a video call.

"I need to be there for my family too. My sister and my dad, they're looking after her but it's so much pressure on them," she says.

Her 59-year-old mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month and was given weeks to live. So West and her two sons boarded a flight from Melbourne and applied for an exemption so they can be with her as she dies.

"They said it was denied, like it wasn't a serious enough matter or not a medical matter for me."

Even more frustrating, West says her mum is spending her last days at home, meaning her visit wouldn't pose any risk to hospital staff or other patients.

"Her one dying wish is to say goodbye and give me a big cuddle. So for them to say it's not serious enough, it felt very heartless."

The Ministry of Health has received 24 exemption requests from people wanting to visit dying relatives, including one from Oliver Christiansen whose previously denied application was overturned in the High Court.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says that case will change the exemption process.

"As a result of that judicial review, I've asked our team to review previous similar requests to ensure that they follow the correct process and take into account the judge's findings."

But following the correct processes may be too late for West. She's appealed the decision, but her mum has only got days to live.

Even if her application is approved, she's still at least 10 hours away from her mum. Her brother would have to drive from Taranaki to Auckland to pick her up, and then drive all the way back.

If the application is denied, that drive is another four days away.

"I can see she wants to go, but she's holding on. So the sooner we can get there, the sooner she can go and get peace," West says.

She says even one hour with her mum is all she wants, so she can hold her hand one last time.