On the 17th I exclusively blogged the story of a Kiwi family who got home without an MIQ booking by transiting through New Zealand, and exercising their right to stay. The Herald confirmed this story on the 20th.
On the 19th I ran a guest post from Tudor Clee who spelt out why and how New Zealand citizens have a legal right to enter New Zealand, and can do so through transit and only incur a $1,000 infringement fine.
On the 21st the Herald confirmed this, quoting a Bell Gully partner:
“Yes it does, in terms of the core provisions of the Immigration Act, citizens have the right to enter and be in New Zealand at any time,” says Bell Gully partner Willy Sussman, whose specialities include immigration law.
He said family members had, however, been stressed by comments made by joint head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Chris Bunny, who said in a statement to the Herald: “It is a legal requirement to have a valid MIQ voucher to enter New Zealand. If someone arrives in the country without a valid MIQ voucher, then their case may be referred to NZ Police for enforcement action.
This is basically bullshit. The Immigration Act is very clear that citizens do not need an MIQ voucher to enter NZ. They may need a voucher to board a flight, but not to enter NZ. The reference to the Police is also bullshit scaremongering.
“We would be extremely disappointed by anyone who purposefully ignores the process, especially when there are thousands of New Zealanders, often in difficult circumstances, who want to come home and who follow the rules.”
Goode said the Auckland Airport Novotel MIQ facility had been “half-empty” during his family’s stay, “so we weren’t taking anyone’s place”.
MIQ management is so incompetent that they can’t match supply of rooms with demand. Half the rooms sit empty.
Stuff also has confirmed NZ citizens can legally enter via transit:
Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) has “zero tolerance” for Kiwis attempting to get into the country by posing as transit passengers – but an immigration lawyer say’s he can’t see any legal reason why they shouldn’t be able to do so. …
Arran Hunt, a partner with Auckland law firm Stace Hammond, said he had “a little bit of respect” for whoever came up with the idea “as it is an intriguing way for Kiwis stuck offshore to find a way into New Zealand”. …
Hunt said he can’t think of any legal reason why a New Zealand citizen entering the country on the proviso of travelling to another country should be denied entry, although they would still need to do their time in MIQ.
“Effectively it would be preventing a New Zealand citizen from entering New Zealand, and forcing them to leave the country.”
So three separate lawyers have said it is legal.