A COUPLE who are currently stuck in New Zealand have slammed the government over the lack of information and support they have received as they battle to get back to Scotland.

Tom and Carol McDonald, who are both retired, left Scotland on February 18 with their life savings behind them as they embarked on what was meant to be a journey of their lifetime.

To their devastation, their holiday has been immediately cut short as they now face quarantine in New Zealand for an unknown amount of time.

Tom explains: “We were advised to contact our local embassy or consulate via telephone but we couldn’t get through. That was all.

“More or less, we feel completely abandoned by the government and UK authorities entirely.”

Tom and Carol were scheduled to fly home with Emirates airline via Dubai until transit hubs and passenger flights across the globe were halted.

READ MORE: Mount Florida woman stranded in Australia due to coronavirus outbreak issues plea to government

Tom added: “With no transit flights, nobody can move at the moment.

“There’s some really sad and difficult stories that we’re hearing. Everyone just wants to go home.

“There’s lots of people around the place, especially backpackers and young people, who have ran out of money and are staying in hostels. But they’re running out of places to stay.

“Everything is completely closed down and I don’t know how these people will get support.”

The couple, from Helensburgh, have been using an online Facebook group named ‘Get Us Home UK- British Citizens stranded in New Zealand’ to keep informed on government updates which could help their situation.

Tom added: “We get a daily text message to say they’re doing their best and that the Home Secretary is trying to convince governments to open transit hubs but that is about it - absolutely nothing else has happened.”

“I feel sorry for those out here who don’t have access to internet - they must be feeling completely stuck.”

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Rutherglen mum's plea for help to get her daughters home

Earlier this week the UK Government pledged to implement a £75 million airlift operation that would rescue thousands of British nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus crisis.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We recognise British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that are being introduced around the world – often with very little or no notice.

“The government has partnered with a number of airlines who have committed to work together to get Brits back to the UK and up to £75 million has been made available for charter flights were commercial options are no longer available. W

“We’ll continue working around the clock to bring people home.”

It’s understood British nationals stuck in New Zealand have been paying thousands of pounds on flights to return home - to then be told at the airport their journey has been cancelled.


Shops are closing. Newspaper sales are falling. But we’ve chosen to keep our coverage of the Coronavirus crisis free because it’s so important that the people of Glasgow stay informed during this difficult time.

To help us get through this, we’re asking readers who can afford it to contribute either £3, £5 or £8 a month to the Glasgow Times.

If you choose to sign up, we’ll also take away all the adverts – and deliver a digital version of the print paper to your device. Click here to help Save Your Times: www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/subscribe