4 Dec 2020

Govt broadens MIQ criteria for emergency returns to NZ

From Checkpoint, 5:40 pm on 4 December 2020

The government is now reserving about 150 beds a fortnight in managed isolation for people having to rush back to New Zealand because of emergencies and it's also broadened the criteria to jump ahead in the queue.

Places in managed isolation are in extremely high demand heading into Christmas and the summer holidays - with some families unable to book a spot in time to see dying relatives.

Previously only New Zealand citizens and resident visa holders with an imminent threat to their life or a serious risk to their health could be given priority for an MIQ spot.

That's now been extended to include people coming home to care for a child.

There also a now second lower priority category that includes people visiting an immediate relative who is dying, people who can't legally stay where they are or here to provide specialist health services or is needed for national security.

Lisa Owen asked MBIE's deputy chief executive of managed isolation Megan Main why they have freed up the beds now.