Labour MP spends summer break in Europe after securing MIQ spot

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Jan 2022, 1:25PM
Marja Lubeck (Photo / NZ Herald)
Marja Lubeck (Photo / NZ Herald)

Labour MP spends summer break in Europe after securing MIQ spot

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Jan 2022, 1:25PM

Labour's Marja Lubeck has spent the summer break in Europe, visiting family in the Netherlands. 

The list MP, who contests Auckland's Kaipara ki Mahurangi electorate, was born in the Netherlands and later moved to New Zealand. 

Lubeck's trip is possible thanks to her securing an MIQ spot, allowing her to isolate upon her return to New Zealand. But the MIQ system is becoming increasingly controversial; regular releases of MIQ places are almost always oversubscribed, meaning many New Zealanders are barred from returning home. 

Lubeck said she "absolutely acknowledged" it is tough for many people, and "I cannot comment on anyone's personal circumstances but I counted my blessings when I managed to book the MIQ spot". 

"I entered the MIQ ballot several times and eventually was lucky to be part of the first 3000 that round [for 4000 rooms], so able to book my MIQ slot," she said in a statement. 

Lubeck said she was "super grateful to be able to have this precious time with whānau in the Netherlands". 

She added that her time in the Netherlands, which is currently in lockdown thanks to surging Covid cases, had emphasised the merits of New Zealand's approach to tackling the virus. 

"This time in the Netherlands has made it even more clear that New Zealand's approach to the worldwide pandemic has been one to be grateful for," she said. 

Martin Newell, a spokesman for Grounded Kiwis, a group formed to represent Kiwis stranded overseas, said that MIQ was affecting both Kiwis in this country, and those trapped overseas. 

"As well as people already overseas seeking to come home, MIQ affects people in New Zealand wanting to go overseas and return, whether to visit family, pursue sporting or business opportunities, or otherwise. 

"We need a sensible science- and risk-based approach that enables Kiwi citizens and residents, no matter where they live now, to return to New Zealand." 

- by Thomas Coughlan, NZ Herald