Jordan Williams
Executive Director
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

Our Embassy staff in China continued their holiday after the Wuhan virus became serious.

We received an incredible tip-off last week that despite the alarming events in China our embassy in Beijing was closed while the coronavirus escalated into a global emergency.

Your humble Taxpayers’ Union made enquiries and discovered that the only thing available to Kiwis in Beijing was an answerphone message and advice to seek help from the World Health Organisation!

It turns out that the taxpayer-funded embassy staff were enjoying an extended Chinese New Year break and no one thought to get back to work after the emergency was declared in Wuhan.

We blew the whistle on the closure and it wasn’t until the discovery was picked up (without credit!) by the NZ Herald that someone thought they’d better call our holidaying diplomats back from holiday. 

What is the point of a diplomatic post, if it’s not open when New Zealanders actually need it?

The Beijing post is not humble digs. According to MFAT, $50 million of your money was spent on an ‘elegant and sustainable new building to be the heart of its official presence in China’ which opened last year. But at the very time Kiwis most needed help, the doors were locked

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