The illegal MIQ lottery

The High Court has ruled major aspects of the MIQ system were illegal. Readers will recall the Government's initial lockdown was also illegal, as was one of their vaccine mandates, so in terms of trampling on the Bill of Rights has a record.

The court decision includes details of many NZ citizens who suffered massively through MIQ not being fit for purpose.

Some of the findings are:

  • It was not an appropriate mechanism where demand significantly exceeded supply and those seeking to access that supply had a fundamental right that was potentially impacted to different degrees. The virtual lobby did not prioritise citizens over non-citizens and nor did it prioritise on need or the delay experienced by a citizen.
  • The offline emergency process was too tightly constrained to address this deficiency
  • The respondents have not shown that a less rights impairing MIQ system was not reasonably available and that would have sufficiently achieved the Government's public health strategy during the Relevant Period.
  • The respondents have not shown why an online system could not have prioritised New Zealand citizens over others or prioritised based on the time period that a person had been seeking to return
  • Nor have the respondents demonstrated that wider criteria for offline applications and a corresponding greater number of rooms allocated for those applications were not reasonably available alternatives to the system as it operated.
  • The emergency allocation process as it operated was an inadequate method of seeking to ensure that New Zealanders could return if they were facing unreasonable delays or had a need to return that warranted priority.
  • The evidence indicates that at least some New Zealanders experienced unreasonable delays in exercising their right to enter
  • The combination of the virtual lobby and the narrow emergency criteria operated in a way that meant New Zealanders' right to enter their country could be infringed in some instances in a manner that was not demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Ministers knew all about these problems and chose not to fix them. It would have been relatively simple to prioritise people based on how long they had been waiting to return. It would have been simple to prioritise NZ citizens over visiting DJs. But they didn;t.

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