Ombudsman to investigate MIQ booking system

Newshub reports:

Human rights lawyers are lining up to take on the Government over the troubled managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) booking system that’s left thousands of Kiwis unable to get home.

The Chief Ombudsman revealed to Newshub on Tuesday he’s received a number of complaints, and is making it a priority to investigate.

Kiwi Bergen Graham is 26 weeks’ pregnant with her first baby and considered high-risk. She’s been trying for months to get home.

“We don’t need visas, we don’t need anything… all I’m asking for is a hotel room,” she said.

As soon as she learned she was pregnant in El Salvador, she’s been hitting refresh on the MIQ website.

“All I’ve been told is I have a rare blood type. I need to be seeing the same doctor the whole time so I can be monitored at 28 weeks. I need to get a test done… and that’s scary, you know?”

With no MIQ spots, she and her husband are now stuck in transit in the US.

Even though she has a specialist’s letter confirming she needs to get home, our Government won’t make a special case. She’s been told “you’re not sick enough”. 

If you sat 20 people in a room and asked them to design the worst possible booking system possible, they would come up with our MIQ booking system.

There is no ability to prioritise. There is no waiting list. There is no certainty of getting a spot. If you follow the rules you will miss out. The system forces you to book more rooms than you need and on any day around 40% of rooms are empty. I am quite serious when I say you really would struggle to design a worse system.

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