News of Zealand

New Zealander Abby Hartley Dies in Bali

The Hamilton mother was stuck on the Indonesian island with a severe infection after her insurance company and the government refused to pay for her medevac.
September 11, 2018, 1:42am
Nusa Dua, Bali. Image via Shutterstock

Abby Hartley and her husband Richard decided to escape New Zealand’s winter and celebrate their second honeymoon in Bali. The excursion was hardly different from the thousands of other New Zealanders that jet away to the Indonesian island every year, except that Hartley never made it home. The 41-year-old died in a Nusa Dua hospital on Sunday after contracting severe infections.

Despite Hartley having travel insurance, her provider refused to cover her medical expenses and a medevac home, saying she had failed to disclose a pre-existing medical condition. In a desperate attempt to raise funds, a Givealittle page was set up, raising $237,602 before it was closed.

The family also reached out to the government. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told the family the government could not assist financially as she fell ill overseas.

Ardern told the AM show this morning that she was “absolutely gutted” to hear of the Kiwi mother’s death, but stood by her government's decision not to cover the cost of a medevac. She said this significant medical event was not in isolation so making an exception for Hartley would have been problematic. "We have roughly 3000 calls for consular assistance overseas every year. Over 200 of those relate to medical issues, and we lose roughly 180 New Zealanders abroad every year."

Ardern said there was help provided to these New Zealanders but that help did not involve covering insurance companies’ responsibilities. "The thing that I find tough to know is there will, of course, be other cases like this," she said. "In those cases, we're always hoping the insurers do their bit to support New Zealanders when they have that insurance."