Almost 2000 managed isolation rooms sit empty each day, while New Zealanders trying to get home say they are struggling with an ongoing lack of vouchers.
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has been releasing vouchers in batches, but high demand has seen them snapped up in minutes, and there are no rooms showing as available for the next four months.
This is a disgrace. Kiwis can’t get home for four months, and there are 2,000 empty rooms.
The problem is the MIQ system is designed by Government for Government. It is inflexible and unresponsive. There is no focus on customer service. It is designed purely to make it easy to administer rather than easy to access.
The ministry said others were unavailable as it changed the way returnees were grouped, and moved to a “cohort” intake system.
That meant up to 1983 rooms were empty this week, while about 3000 were occupied.
40% of rooms are empty!!
Yet they won’t let anyone else in.
Could you imagine a private sector operator that would refuse to take any more bookings, yet had a 40% vacancy rate. They’d be bankrupt of course.
The Government has repeatedly said it will not increase capacity in MIQ, because of staffing and resources required.
Disgraceful. They’re saying it would be too much hard work to allow NZers to return home easily.
What a responsive Government would do is set a target, such as no returning Kiwi should have to wait more than say three months. And then simply deploy the resources needed to meet the demand. This is not that hard. It is not rocket science. Businesses do this every day.