Lawyer of stranded pregnant Kiwi journalist hits back at head of MIQ

The lawyer of pregnant Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis has hit back at Head of MIQ Chris Bunny accusing him of "misleading the public ''. 

Bellis has been forced to ask the Taliban for safe refuge in Afghanistan after being denied an emergency MIQ spot so she could return home to give birth. 

Bunny told the NZ Herald Bellis' emergency allocation application had to be made within 14-days of her arrival date.

"In the case of Charlotte Bellis, she applied for an emergency allocation MIQ voucher on Monday 24 January. The date she requested (27 February) was not within the 14-day window required for an emergency allocation (the travel must be time critical)." 

But Bellis' lawyer Tudor Clee says MIQ guidelines outline applications can be made outside of the 14-day window if there are limited flights. 

"In special circumstances, for example when there is only one flight each month leaving from the applicant's location, applications may be considered outside of the 14-day window," the MIQ guidelines state. 

Clee told Newshub Bunny's comments made Bellis look like she was trying to bend MIQ rules. 

"He needs to be challenged, otherwise it's making Charlotte who followed the rules to a T look like she was trying to bend the rules," adding "He is totally misleading the public."

Bunny told Newshub "applications may be considered outside of the 14-day window. However, proceeding outside the 14-day timeframe is the exception, not the rule." 

The NZ Herald reports Bellis has been offered help from a second country since her story broke but for now cannot name the country. 

On Sunday after growing pressure, the Government emailed Bellis asking her to reapply for an emergency MIQ spot but under a different category, the NZ Herald reports. 

But her partner, New York Times photographer Jim Huylebroek would have to make a separate application to enter New Zealand.