I don't doubt that there are edge cases genuinely worthy of some sympathy and even exemptions but just from these some of these people's own-submitted stories alone, in many cases I have zero sympathy. Why should lots of others be put at risk just to do you a favour, especially after all the sacrifices already made?
I think "gallivanting" is prejudicial, judgmental and generally inaccurate... many of these people have returned home to visit families, and in the chaos of border closures and flight cancellations and fare increases in early March were unable to get back to NZ.
However, I do think that if you're actually intending to live in NZ (or any other country) then you ought to become a citizen or at least a Permanent Resident. If you think that becoming a citizen/PR isn't worth the effort (or even a disadvantage), then I question your commitment to NZ; it seems you were only here for the lifestyle or the money, gaining benefits that citizens have paid for, with no investment yourself. So, conversely, NZ has no responsibility to help you, and I too have limited sympathy for work visa holders who are stuck outside NZ. You made your bed...