Abby Hartley, mum to Sophie and Toby and wife to Richard Hartley, died while on her second honeymoon in Bali. Source: Givealittle Page
Abby Hartley, mum to Sophie and Toby and wife to Richard Hartley, died while on her second honeymoon in Bali. Source: Givealittle Page

‘Gutted’: Honeymoon mum left to die in Bali

NEW Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's "gutted" to learn of the death of New Zealander Abby Hartley in a Bali hospital.

Ms Hartley, 41, was on a second honeymoon when she became ill. She had been in an induced coma in hospital with her family by her bedside.

She had been taken to hospital at the start of August and died on Sunday.

Her family had asked the New Zealand Government for help flying her home through a medical evacuation but Ms Ardern ruled out the assistance.

Today the Prime Minister offered her condolences to the Hartley family.

"I learned yesterday, late afternoon, of Abby's passing. There's no doubt that this obviously is gutting and including for all the New Zealanders who reached out to support the family," Ms Ardern said on Radio NZ.

"The money was raised to bring her home and it is incredibly sad that that opportunity just didn't eventuate."

Ms Ardern said she had been surprised, while working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), by the number of New Zealanders who sought and were given consular support every year.

"Over 200 cases where medical issues arise where MFAT does provide support. That support just doesn't extend to bringing them home and hasn't done, and nor do really any of our international counterparts either."

Ms Ardern said help could be provided to Kiwis abroad, but that did not absolve insurers of their obligations to customers.

"When it comes to significant medical events, then that's when we're always hoping and seeking the assistance of insurers to support New Zealanders, when there are situations like medevacs (medical evacuations)," she told TVNZ.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta was providing consular assistance to the family.

"We were saddened to learn that Abby Hartley has died," he said.

"Our thoughts are with Abby's family at this difficult time."

Abby Hartley, mum to Sophie and Toby and wife to Richard Hartley, has been in hospital in Bali since August 1. Source: Givealittle Page
Abby Hartley, mum to Sophie and Toby and wife to Richard Hartley, has been in hospital in Bali since August 1. Source: Givealittle Page

National Party leader Simon Bridges had said he had been contacted by concerned New Zealanders who had agreed to pay for the medevac costs to return Ms Hartley to New Zealand once she was strong enough.

"I learned late weekend and contacted (husband) Richard Hartley to pass my condolences on to him and his family and offer any help I could. He was very gracious," Mr Bridges said today.

"I am incredibly saddened for Richard and his family about Abby - my heart really goes out to them at this awful time."

Ms Hartley fell ill at the start of last month while holidaying at the tourist destination and was eventually placed in an induced coma on August 15.

She had contracted septicaemia, and her hospital bill was well over $100,000. Her insurance company refused to pay the bill, telling her family her illness related to a pre-existing condition.

A Givealittle page to help fund her return to New Zealand raised more $230,000 after the Government refused to intervene.

ACT leader David Seymour, who had lobbied to bring Ms Hartley home, said his thoughts were with the family.

"Our whole country's thoughts are with them now and I just hope that they can do their best to celebrate Abby's life," he said.

"They went away for their second honeymoon, which was supposed to be a special time and then you get this kind of complication and completely unexpectedly end up in this massive saga over when does your insurance cover you and not cover you and who should pay.

"New Zealanders raised $238,000 voluntarily which is probably the only positive story in the whole thing. It is just a tragedy."

Abby's husband Richard said the family had originally hoped to be able to fly her home on a commercial flight, which would have cost up to $60,000, taking up about 10 seats to cover her stretcher, medical equipment, doctor and nurse.

When Abby's condition deteriorated the only way to have got her home was via specialised emergency aircraft, which could cost up to $160,000.

Ms Ardern said earlier the situation was "deeply distressing" and was a case where their insurance company should step up.

"Ultimately, what we hope is in these cases that insurers really step in and assist families when they have situations like this," Ms Ardern said.

Ms Hartley's husband wrote to the Government for help to bring his wife home, however, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said it wasn't possible.

Richard Hartley had told the Herald it makes the family's mind "boggle as to why they don't understand that the insurance will not pay out".

"Winston said this at the end of his letter. Why they couldn't help 50/50 with us. Maybe take it out of our taxes like a term loan?

"But hey, I am not an accountant that works for the Government. Insurance is based on risk factor; we lost," he said.


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