Lloyd Burr: Hey Duncan Garner, your COVID-19 border idea is bonkers

OPINION: I talk to Kiwis everyday as part of my job. Some have started businesses here, while others have started families. Many are here for their OE or to get a bit of worldly life experience. 

Regardless of why they're here or what they're doing, there's one thing that always comes up - and that's being proud of the way New Zealand's dealt with COVID-19. 

I hear it everywhere I go, and it makes me proud to be a Kiwi in London knowing that my homeland got it mostly right. 

And then I see the critisicm directed at our expat community by the likes of Duncan Garner and it knocks the pride right out of me (and the others here who've messaged me about it). 

Garner believes the government should shut the borders to everyone, including Kiwis to stop any possibility of the virus getting into New Zealand again. 

His argument is that us expats are "taking the mickey" by "meandering and dawdling home" and we've "had plenty of time to get our backsides home". 

What a load of crap. Crap that's causing a whole lot of unnecessary angst to many Kiwis who're in really tough situations over here. 

If it was as easy as you say it is, then we'd all be home and hosed by now and you'd have your perfect utopia closed off from the world. 

But it's not that easy. Not all of us can pack up our lives and move back to the other side of the world in the space of three months. Have you ever had to deal with British bureaucracy before? The rental contracts, the work contracts, car lease agreements, and all the other god-awful devilish British red-tape to work through, all in a country that's still locked down. 

Then there's the flights (that are rare, exorbitantly priced and change a dozen times provided the airline doesn't collapse). And moving companies (that aren't running at full capacity because of supply chain delays). And organising transit visas or exemptions (which are VERY confusing). All before you even get to New Zealand. 

And that's just for those who want to move home. What about the other scenarios? 

The Kiwi family that decided to weather the storm in the UK, only to have their jobs axed, their savings dry up, and have no way to get home? 

What about those whose loved ones are ill? You want to ban someone from going through the rigmarole of getting home so they can say goodbye to a dying mum or dad?

What about those whose loved ones are getting married? Ban the brother who's best man too? 

What about those serving overseas in our military? Or diplomatic service? Or those employed by New Zealand companies whose secondments end?  

What would happen to someone whose UK visa expires and they're sent home, yet only to be blocked and left stateless at the New Zealand border? 

How would you propose navigating around the UN Convention on Statelessness? 

What about the Kiwi ship captains bringing in vital imports - will you ban them? The New Zealander piloting the cargo plane bringing in PPE gear will be banned too? 

The examples go on and on and on. And they apply to Kiwis living all over the world. 

And Duncan please understand that your plan - despite being so damned flawed - is actually freaking people out. It's making Kiwis living on the bones of their arse in London - who might be locked into a rental agreement or trying to find the cash to buy a flight to get home or whatever - scared the country they're so proud of is about to turn its back on them. 

They are not "taking the mickey". 

The only one doing that is you. 

Lloyd Burr is Newshub's Europe Correspondent based in London.