Mike Hosking: The MIQ shambles is needless heartbreak for so many

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Sep 2021, 9:36AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Mike Hosking: The MIQ shambles is needless heartbreak for so many

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Sep 2021, 9:36AM

So not a great time in the old lobby for my daughter yesterday. Needless to say, the predictions on the new MIQ system were right.

Call it anything you want, tinker with it, paint it, spin it, it remains what it always was. It's a mess that never really got set up, properly bogged down, and a classic supply-demand issue 

She started out 17,815th in the line. I suppose is the upside, or is it? Previously, you didn’t get a spot, and you had no idea whether you would or not. It was a blind crap-shoot. At least this way the profound misery of knowing you don't stand a hope in hell stares you in the face, as it turns out, for a period of several hours. 

Slowly, she moved up a bit. She got to 11,000th by the end as people drop out, dates are filled up, and rooms run to zero. And that was that, thanks for coming 

So, what have we gained out of this change? Essentially, nothing. It’s a lottery and how you pull the numbers from the ball in the lottery doesn’t really matter. If you have 3000 rooms and 27,000 people wanting them, it doesn't work. 

You’ve partially solved the refresh 100 times issue, I suppose. But beyond that, it's still dumb luck. And a system as important as this shouldn’t be running on luck alone. 

A points-based system would be an immeasurable improvement. It still wouldn’t be perfect, given our immigration system ran on it. Remember that? Immigration? It's where people with skills arrived in the country and industries weren't haemorrhaging because of labour shortages. 

Even under a points system, there was always a scrap about skills, pay rates, and who got better treatment, but at least there was a merit element to it. The Government don’t want a points system it seems for the simple reason, or excuse, that's it too complicated. As in too complicated for them to work out how to do it. 

Obviously, there is queue from the tech sector who would solve it by Thursday. So, the system is held hostage to a degree by a government that hasn’t got the slightest aspirational gene in its makeup. Nor, tragically, do they have the wherewithal to recognise that and ask for help. 

So, for the foreseeable, tens of thousands of New Zealanders are stuck, business is hamstrung, funerals are missed, and sports people can't make a living. There's a massive queue of misery and desperation. 

Of all the cock ups of this pandemic, behind the abject failure of an urgent vaccine rollout, MIQ would be the biggest. Their fix? A foe lobby followed by a numerical conformation of how screwed you are when you enter.