Hunger striker allowed out of MIQ to see dying dad after he went to media

  • Updated
  • 07/02/2022

An Australian-based Kiwi will be allowed to leave MIQ early to spend time with his dying father after he went on hunger strike and talked to media about his plight.

Kurt Lehndorf arrived in New Zealand from Brisbane on Wednesday in the hope of spending time with his father Des, who has terminal acute myeloid leukaemia.

But his application to quarantine at his father's property so he could be with him in his last moments was denied.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which is responsible for MIQ, told Stuff Lehndorf was instead granted a temporary visit to see his father - but he would have to return to MIQ afterwards.

However, Lehndorf said he never received confirmation he could visit his father and claimed MBIE was still processing his application despite extensive paperwork being handed over already.

In a desperate bid to get the ball rolling, Lehndorf decided to begin a hunger strike on Friday after hearing his father's condition had worsened.

After talking to media about his situation and going several days without food, MBIE on Monday told Lehndorf he would be allowed to leave the facility early.

"We are pleased this means he will be able to spend time with his father at this difficult time," a spokesperson said.

"Mr Lehndorf has been advised that his exemption application was approved this morning, subject to him receiving a negative Rapid Antigen Test prior to his departure from MIQ, and transport to his place of self-isolation is now being organised."

Lehndorf told Stuff he does not believe he would have been granted an exemption it it wasn’t for the media coverage of his situation.

“At least I get to see [my father],” he said.

Lehndorf’s case has drawn attention from outspoken ex-pat Kiwi Dan Wootton, who described it as "unaimaginable cruelty".

"Now a man is on hunger strike in a New Zealand quarantine facility because @jacindaardern will not let him travel a few kilometres down the road to see his dying father," Wootton tweeted.

"How does she sleep at night?"