Judith Collins launches National's MIQ policy

Author
Thomas Coughlan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Sep 2021, 12:46PM
National leader Judith Collins arriving for her standup at Parliament. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)
National leader Judith Collins arriving for her standup at Parliament. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)

Judith Collins launches National's MIQ policy

Author
Thomas Coughlan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Sep 2021, 12:46PM

National leader Judith Collins has launched a five-point plan she argues will fix the MIQ system. 

Collins said New Zealanders were "increasingly fed up with the operation of MIQ". 

"Unhappiness is widespread and about the only people prepared to defend the system are those who designed it, those who administer it, and the Government. 

Collins launched the policy in the midst of a difficult week for her leadership. She copped criticism for her handling of a difficult interview on TVNZ's Breakfast show. 

Collins later accused the interviewer, Indira Stewart of having a "political agenda". 

"But that's okay, everybody will make their own judgment," Collins said. 

Collins and the National Party dug in throughout the day on social media, tweeting defences of the interview. 

Collins and National's Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop launched a five-point plan to fix MIQs. 

They proposed a ban on "bots" and third-party providers, a points-based prioritisation system, a waiting list, transparency over room release dates and the creation of a Kiwi Expat Advisory Group. 

Collins said the main problem with MIQs was the fact that demand for rooms always exceeded supply. 

"The underlying problem of MIQ is that demand generally massively exceeds the number of spaces in any given period." 

National's idea is that the "first-in, first-served" basis for MIQ should be changed to a prioritisation system based on points, similar to the way in which skilled migrants are assessed for eligibility for New Zealand. 

Yesterday, the Government promised it would also change the way MIQ rooms were allocated. Instead of 'first-in, first-served', rooms would be allocated almost like a lottery, with people registering for space and then being selected at random. 

Bishop said the people who should have the highest priority coming back into the country are those returning to visit sick or dying family members or for urgent medical treatment and people returning to fill skills shortages.