MP lobbies for The Wiggles after entertainers fail to secure MIQ space

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Jan 2021, 7:43PM
The Wiggles Emma, Lachy, Anthony and Simon are facing their own hot potato after failing to get spaces in quarantine ahead of their New Zealand tour. Photo / Supplied
The Wiggles Emma, Lachy, Anthony and Simon are facing their own hot potato after failing to get spaces in quarantine ahead of their New Zealand tour. Photo / Supplied

MP lobbies for The Wiggles after entertainers fail to secure MIQ space

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Jan 2021, 7:43PM

A New Zealand politician is offering top level intervention for Australian kiddy supergroup The Wiggles whose upcoming tour is in jeopardy after failing to secure quarantine slots.

More than 40,000 tickets have been sold to their We're All Fruit Salad Tour!, which is due to kick off on March 19 in Invercargill.

The 14-day tour, which spans the country, marks 30 years of entertaining for the children's entertainers in their trademark colourful skivvies.

But, as with many entering New Zealand, they have struggled to land a slot in MIQ.

Former National leader and dad-of-three Simon Bridges is making a direct plea to authorities to intervene.

In a tweet he revealed he was drafting a letter to ask authorities that they "do what they can" so the Wiggles' shows can go ahead.

Bridges revealed the kids' band had missed out on spaces, claiming it was down to visa approval delays.

However, Immigration New Zealand said this afternoon eight people in the group hadn't applied yet, while the remaining 10 applied on January 20.

"These types of visa applications are being processed within two weeks," the spokesperson said.

A border exception under the "other critical worker" category was approved on December 24 for 18 people related to The Wiggles, the spokesperson said.

Consumer NZ's Jessica Wilson told Heather du Plessis-Allan the duty is on promoters to ensure performers can actually get into the country if they are selling tickets for those shows.

"Otherwise they will have to cough up refunds. And really they could also face prosecution under the Fair Trading Act if their misleading customers about the availability of the service" - in this, the performers.

Meanwhile, Bridges said cast and crew had all the approvals they needed to travel from Australia, but the slots for the mandatory 14-day stay in isolation weren't available.

"I've just drafted a letter to the powers that be asking that they do what they can so the Wiggles can do their 25 scheduled shows across New Zealand in March and April. Over 40,000 tickets have already been sold.

He said he ended his letter disclosing "a conflict in that my two older children have grown up adoring the Wiggles and my youngest child, aged 3, is obsessed by them and may well go to their Tauranga concert if it happens. I suspect any MP with kids under a certain age will have the same conflict."

Tickets went on sale for the 25-show tour in late November.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spaces in managed isolation are extremely limited until the middle of February.

Despite the quarantine issue, promoter Live Nation today remained hopeful the March concerts would go ahead as planned.

"We are working closely with the relevant authorities on the logistics for The Wiggles' tour, and we're looking forward to welcoming them to New Zealand," said a spokesperson.

The Wiggles have also been approached for comment.

Last year, yellow Wiggle Emma Watkins told the Herald she was excited at the prospect of touring here.

"We've sold so many tickets in the pre-sales I joked to the guys: 'Why don't we just add a whole other week on the end? Just go back and do every city again so nobody misses out.' We're gonna try and squeeze in as many shows as we possibly can. We're honestly so excited. We love New Zealand and are so looking forward to coming over."