Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that British nationals in New Zealand are able to contact and receive support from the Consulate in New Zealand during the covid-19 outbreak.
As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 31 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.
The British High Commission in Wellington is fully staffed and doing all it can to support British nationals at this time, including on routes home. The New Zealand Government has introduced strict restrictions on movement. This requires businesses, including diplomatic premises, to work fully remotely to support social distancing. Consular services are deemed essential and therefore, our High Commission is open to issue emergency travel documents. However, given the New Zealand Government's directive on social distancing, we are asking people not to visit our High Commission in Wellington, or our Consulate in Auckland in person, and instead reach out via our online webform. This is the most effective way to ensure that all requests for support are captured and triaged appropriately.