MIQ demand: Government looking at pre-release notifications

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Aug 2021, 8:07AM
Kiwis living overseas have experienced months of frustrations with the MIQ booking service and unavailability of spaces. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Kiwis living overseas have experienced months of frustrations with the MIQ booking service and unavailability of spaces. Photo / Mark Mitchell

MIQ demand: Government looking at pre-release notifications

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Aug 2021, 8:07AM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government was looking at making changes to the MIQ booking system including notifying people when MIQ spots were being released.

She was also aware of the high threshold for allowing people to get spots on compassionate grounds and said they were looking at what improvements could be made.

She told TVNZ she knew of people personally who were facing challenges to get a MIQ spot to come home and said MIQ was currently experiencing high demand.

Kiwis living overseas have experienced months of frustration trying to secure MIQ spaces.

Ardern said 4000 people were going through MIQ every fortnight and she had been asking whether any more low-risk space available could be brought online especially due to those in New South Wales now having to quarantine.

Ardern said she didn't want to bring back "imperfect facilities" and raise the risk of Covid getting out of the facilities.

While people could not use a bot (automated software) to book a MIQ spot, people were still using third parties to secure vouchers for them. "We are looking at whether or not we can reduce down some of that automated engagement."

It was a breach in the terms of service to use a bot or to pass on your password or log in, Ardern said.

However, some Kiwis desperate to come back home believe they are having to compete with bots.

Wellington man Jonathan Brewer has been stuck in Singapore since March 2020 and is trying to get home by Christmas.

He told the Herald last month that he had laid a complaint with the Government's top watchdog saying the MIQ booking site is simply not usable for those who play within the rules.

"I don't think it's possible to get a spot unless you use a bot or pay someone to do it for you. MBIE seems to think otherwise. So I've escalated to the Ombudsman."