Wellington-based travel agent Laura Nixon has explained in an emotive viral tweet why it's currently so difficult for New Zealanders abroad to get home.
In a dig at commentators who've argued we should close the borders to everyone on the planet including Kiwis, Nixon uses recent experiences as a travel agent to encourage people to empathise with those stuck overseas.
Nixon starts off the thread by saying: "I'm a Travel Agent and I would like to address the people saying that we shouldn’t let New Zealanders come home and 'Why didn't they come home earlier?', 'Why don't they just stay overseas?' and 'Our government has handled this poorly'."
"I spend the majority of my work day helping people who are having to use their savings and paying $2000 plus for a one way flight home because their visa is expiring, only to have that flight get cancelled over and over again. I cry every week."
Nixon says many expats can't afford to stay overseas and the reason they can't come home is because there are no flights.
"You are only just able to now begin transiting at most big hubs after months of no transit. Even then these flights are only at half capacity and most are over $2000. They're very hard to get. New Zealand is very hard to get to right now."
Nixon says many Kiwis overseas who are coming home now are doing so due to no fault of their own. She says New Zealanders should stop making an issue out of nothing and be proud of their country's response to the pandemic.
"Be a good Kiwi and don't stoop to bullying," she says.
Many Twitter users have responded to the thread in support of Nixon, some sharing their own stories.
"Thank you so much. Had an incredibly hard time getting back to New Zealand from London in March," one user wrote.
Others disagreed with her.
"I'm all for their return back home, but with COVID-19 - no! That isn't fair on people that have sacrificed through level 4, 3, 2 and become unemployed."
On Tuesday Newshub's Lloyd Burr hit out at AM Show host Duncan Garner for arguing that Aotearoa's borders should be completely closed.
"Not all of us can pack up our lives and move to the other side of the world in the space of three months," Burr said in response to Garner's comments of expats 'dawdling home.'