In total 33 of these Catholic pilgrims took their chances and absconded.
14 of them are still missing, nine odd months on.
At the time, New Zealand Catholic Church spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer told Radio New Zealand, the mass defection was “shocking” and “there was no reason to believe the missing pilgrims were not genuine”.
Freer may now wish to now change her initial statement, given it is obvious New Zealand Immigration have been taken for a ride by her representatives & the countries tax-payers continue to pay for their lack of vetting, and gross abdication of responsibility for their sponsored charges time, whilst stopping in New Zealand.
This was a large escorted trip, sponsored by N.Z Catholic Church, using local billets – but when the ‘shit hit the fan’ the Church didn’t want a bar of the massive cost trying to find such a large group of absconders.
Imagine the screams of indignation we would have heard if the so-called pilgrims had their applications for temporary visas refused in the first place?
Those cries would have been lead by Freer personally.
All the Kiwi tax-payer got was 'shocked indignation' at the time, and now a deafening silence from the very organistation, entrusted to care for them in the first place!
Not one ounce of moral responsibility to ‘pick-up-the-pieces’.
But hey, what else do you expect?