Coronavirus: Australian woman who refused COVID-19 test starred in conspiracy theorist's YouTube videos while in MIQ

The Australian woman who drew the ire of New Zealanders for repeatedly refusing to get a COVID-19 test starred in a series of YouTube videos with a notorious conspiracy theorist during her elongated period in managed isolation.

Lucinda Baulch has been interviewed nine times for self-professed COVID-19 vaccine skeptic Karen Brewer's YouTube channel since her arrival in New Zealand on January 26.

Baulch, who was released from her Wellington managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility on Tuesday after 28 days, arrived in New Zealand from Victoria to accompany three foster children whose caregivers live here.

She was sent to the Grand Mercure to isolate but flouted the requirement to undergo routine testing, believing she didn't need a test as she'd planned to head straight back to Australia after the children had arrived with their foster families.

Baulch told Newshub she could not give her informed consent to receive a swab test without satisfactory evidence to prove it was safe. As a result, she wasn't allowed to leave after the standard 14-day period, and was instead required to stay for double that - the equivalent of two incubation periods.

In the videos posted to Brewer's channel, Baulch complained that she's been "unlawfully detained" and accused MIQ facilitators of "not fulfilling their obligation" to provide information on the test.

Brewer, who in some videos wears a t-shirt reading 'no jab, no fly, we say no' and in another dons a colander on her head, is an infamous Australian conspiracy theorist with thousands of followers on social media.

A screenshot from one of Karen Brewer's interviews with Lucinda Baulch.
A screenshot from one of Karen Brewer's interviews with Lucinda Baulch. Photo credit: YouTube / Karen Brewer

On her platforms she has made unfounded claims about COVID-19 vaccines and fluoridated water, and alleged Freemasons control Australia's parliament, justice system and media as part of an elaborate child-trafficking scheme.

Last year she was ordered to pay Australian MP Anne Webster AU$875,000 (NZ$940,000) in damages after accusing her of being "a member of a secretive paedophile network" on social media last April.

The posts, which The Guardian reports were shared hundreds of times, alleged Webster had been "parachuted into Parliament to protect a past generation of paedophiles". The judge who sentenced Brewer described the defamation of Webster as "disgraceful and inexplicable".

In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday night, Baulch thanked Brewer for the platform she'd been given and said the subsequent support she'd received while in MIQ had been a lifeline.

Baulch attracted plenty of negative press for her decision to refuse a COVID-19 test - including from National Party leader Judith Collins, who called for her deportation - which she told Newshub was because she wasn't given assurances the test was safe.

"Governments are really confident in the testing and the consent form says it's not known to be harmful to health - and then you get the other side, where lots of people talk about concerns with testing," she said.

"There's such a mish-mash of information… Show me the facts, show me the evidence."

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government had not considered deporting her as people have a right to refuse the test.

"Ultimately when someone refuses to be tested - which people are entitled to do - they'll find that they'll be having a much longer stay in managed isolation than they necessarily needed to," he said when questioned about Baulch.

However he said her time in MIQ was "probably twice as long as it needed to be".

The three children Baulch accompanied tested negative for the virus and were released from managed isolation after 14 days.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) deputy secretary and joint head of MIQ, Megan Main, confirmed to Newshub that a person cannot legally be held in managed isolation for longer than 28 days.

"We have legislation which requires us to have people take a day 12 test and we are required to hold people who refused that test for at least an extra 10 days."

MBIE confirmed Baulch is not the first person to refuse testing, and other new arrivals have stayed for an additional 14 days in the past.