The Government could increase managed isolation by about an extra 3000 rooms making space to reunite families and bring home stranded Kiwis, but it’s choosing not to open them.
The MIQ system appears to be designed entirely for the ease of the bureaucracy, not for the ease of New Zealanders wanting to return home. Kiwis have to play lotto with the system hoping they get lucky and after refreshing 500 times find a spot. Some have to wait months and months until they can get a spot.
And there’s a fix to reunite them: about two dozen managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) hotels good to go – that’s around 3000 extra rooms.
Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi admits it could help ease the strain on the border.
“Of course we could,” he said, when asked if opening up a few more MIQ facilities could enable the Government to bring in more families.
Of course they could – but they’re not.
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which is responsible for MIQ, says 55 facilities were originally deemed suitable. Just 32 are currently operating so that means 23 are available.
But it says the Government hasn’t asked to increase the network.
Because there is no benefit to the Government in doing so. The more facilities, the more work it takes to manage. So they prioritise their ease over Kiwis being able to return home.