Clearly some pigs are more equal than others in Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand. Ordinary New Zealanders were forced to endure weeks of Level 4 lockdown, including being barred from the bedsides of dying family members. But well-heeled foreigners were secretly allowed to slip in through New Zealand’s supposedly closed borders.

Key individuals behind the sequel to Hollywood blockbuster Avatar are among hundreds of foreigners quietly let into New Zealand under little-known exemptions to its closed border regime. New Zealand closed its borders in March to deal with COVID-19, allowing only Kiwis and returning residents to return.

Jacinda Ardern’s government has since tweaked its regulations to allow humanitarian arrivals and essential workers in, including in the health sectors. But only today, under questioning, was it revealed Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford has also been admitting high-value foreigners.

This isn’t a case of letting climate-botherer James Cameron fly any of his fleet of private aircraft in to kick up his heels in the splendid isolation of yet another of his global network of mansions.

“I’ve signed off on a couple of hundred over the past month,” he said. Mr Twyford was granted powers by Cabinet on April 21 to allow entry to individuals from the James Cameron-directed blockbuster[…]

“There’s a set of criteria that we’ve been using to make the decisions.”

Unmarked tickets to enter New Zealand. Best delivered in plain paper bags. The BFD.

Funny how Ardern never thought to mention any of this while she was playing daily school-marm, gurning and giggling at the camera while talking down to New Zealanders as if they were idiot children.

The government’s secrecy around the border exemption is surprising given they have run near-daily press briefings since the arrival of the pandemic in March. Then, Ms Ardern trumpeted the controls as one of “widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world”[…]

Ms Ardern said the exemptions regime was being reviewed.

“There are some individuals who are in some really sticky situations,” she said. “I do want to make sure that we address that issue before we see an opening up of the exemptions regime, because I do think that will raise equity issues or issues of fairness.”

Not to worry: if you’re a Hollywood mogul with hundreds of millions to splash around, you can obviously buy all the equity you want from the Ardern government.

Money buys a lot of special treatment in Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand. The BFD. Photoshop: Lushington Brady.

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