15 Sep 2021

Covid-19 Minister details changes to MIQ booking

From Checkpoint, 5:20 pm on 15 September 2021

On Monday morning, those overseas trying to get home will be able to try to nab a place in MIQ through the new system which the government says will make the system fairer.

Instead of endless refreshing or enlisting a bot, people will be able to enter the virtual lobby and try their luck.

There will be about 4,000 rooms available each fortnight until Christmas.

Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint he cannot promise anyone wanting to return from Australia an MIQ space before Christmas.

“I can't give them that reassurance and we were pretty clear with people when we gave them forewarning of the suspension of the trans-Tasman bubble with the exception of New South Wales… But we were pretty clear with everybody else that if they took their chances and stayed in Australia that's what they were doing.”

Hipkins said moving the school holidays has not been ruled out.

“I'm getting advice on the practicality of that, all of the different things to weigh up. Obviously, you've seen some strong resistance from various parts of the community, not just teachers but actually some businesses have expressed some reservations.”

He says a decision will be announced in the “next couple of days”.