New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to the raging controversy that was triggered after the country’s Embassy asked the Indian Youth Congress—the youth wing of the country’s main opposition party—for help in providing an oxygen cylinder. Ardern said the New Zealand High Commission in India should have used “normal channels and protocols” to secure oxygen for a person they say is critically ill with Covid-19.
Ardern said there were other ways the High Commission could and should have used to seek medical assistance.
She further said, “The High Commission themselves have removed that tweet and acknowledged that wasn’t the process that should have been used. They’ve done that, they’ve corrected that.”
She contended that one person working in the commission’s compound, an Indian national, was “very unwell” and recognised why the commission might have done what it did. However, Ardern added, “there are other means and channels because the commission was very well supported by the Indian government through the pandemic.”
The Kiwi Prime Minister said that the NZ government is doing all it can to keep both Kiwis and locals working at the commission safe, including introducing bubble arrangements and enforcing strict protocols.
New Zealand embassy tweet to the youth wing of Congress for oxygen sparks controversy
The controversy erupted after the New Zealand embassy in India on Sunday (May 2) bypassed the Ministry of External Affairs and sought oxygen supply from the youth wing of the Opposition Congress party. “Srinivas BV, could you please help with the oxygen cylinder urgently at the New Zealand High Commission? Thank you,” the tweet read.
Srinivas B V then reached the New Zealand High Commission with oxygen cylinders along with other Congress workers. “We have reached New Zealand High Commission with oxygen cylinders. Please open the gates and save a soul on time. #SOSIYC,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, he informed, “Update- New Zealand high commission opened gates of the embassy and accepted cylinders. Also, they thanked the #SOSIYC team for this quick relief as the patient inside the embassy was critically ill.”
The tweet drew sharp criticism from netizens, who slammed the New Zealand embassy for not proper protocols in demanding the supply of oxygen.
Following the controversy, the New Zealand embassy in India deleted its initial tweet. “We are trying all sources to arrange for oxygen cylinders urgently and our appeal has unfortunately been misinterpreted, for which we are sorry,” it apologised in a tweet.