A far-right British politician has likened New Zealand to Nazi Germany after learning of our "absolutely horrific" managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) COVID-19 protocol.
Suzanne Evans, a former Deputy Chair of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) who co-authored its election manifesto, wrote on Twitter that New Zealand was operating a "fascist government" under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The tweet, which called on Amnesty International to act, shared a post describing New Zealand's MIQ hotels as "quarantine camps" and claimed that Kiwis can be "forcibly removed" if they are deemed a risk to others in their households.
"They will be detained without charge, or conviction of any crime, until they agree to a test and it's negative," the shared post reads. "What do you think about that?"
New Zealand's MIQ system, run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, requires that returning Kiwis undertake a 14-day self-isolation period in a hotel upon their arrival in the country.
These MIQ facilities require people to be tested for COVID-19 around day three and day 12 of their stay, and they must return a negative test before they can leave.
Since the Auckland outbreak began in August, all those who've tested positive in the community have been placed in quarantine facilities, unless they've been able to arrange a suitable alternative.
In announcing the new regulation on August 13, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said it "shows how serious we are about limiting any risk of ongoing transmission".
"These facilities have been set up specifically and have excellent processes and resources in place to look after people with COVID-19, including health staff on site at all times," he explained.
"It will help us avoid any further inadvertent spread into the community as part of our overall response."
While Dr Bloomfield argues the protocol was put in place to protect Kiwis, Evans has likened New Zealand's MIQ system to Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in the 1930s.
"As I've said before, I could never understand 1930s Nazi Germany. Now it's all too painfully obvious how it happened," she said.
Responding to a tweet pointing out New Zealanders need to return a negative test before leaving an MIQ facility, she wrote: "How long before it's 'don't get a vaccine, don't get out?' Absolutely horrific."
Evans later revealed she'd received a text from someone asking how anyone sane could believe Ardern is kind, given the COVID-19 regulations she's implemented.
"What she's doing to people is inhuman," the text reads. "Two of best friends (sic) missed their mum's death AND funeral because they were locked in hotel isolation."
While some Kiwis agreed with Evans' tweets, the vast majority seized the opportunity to point out that New Zealand had an impressive record in dealing with COVID-19, and that its citizens are now enjoying more freedoms than most of the rest of the world as a result.
"I'm in New Zealand right now, am at a bar where I can hang out with whoever I like for as long as I like. We are happy with our freedoms, we don't want to have restrictions on our liberties like much of Europe/US," one person responded.
"It's called quarantine. You may have heard of it. People have used it for thousands of years to quell the spread of disease," wrote another.
"Please save us, Amnesty," a third wrote. "Things are terrible here. We had to go to the beach on a three-day weekend and see other citizens. Please come save us from the daily tyranny of scanning QR codes and socialising with family and friends."