4 Nov 2021

National petitions to end MIQ for vaccinated travellers

1:48 pm on 4 November 2021

The National Party has launched a petition to end what it calls "state-sponsored human cruelty" for travellers required to go through managed isolation.

National party COVID-19 Response Spokesperson Chris Bishop

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

It wants MIQ scrapped for double-vaccinated travellers from low and medium risk countries, with the requirement they test negative for Covid-19 before and after they land.

National's Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says the daily numbers, and those now isolating at home, make a strong case for a shake-up.

"We now have a farcical situation where fully vaccinated New Zealanders, with no Covid, who win the MIQ lottery have to spend 14 days in MIQ in Auckland, while more than 1300 people with Covid or who are close contacts of Covid cases isolate at home in Auckland," he said.

MIQ for travellers returning to New Zealand was cruel, he said.

"The people offshore who are desperate to come home have not seen their families or loved ones for two years or so and are desperate to come to New Zealand for Christmas.

"This is not the Kiwi way. It isn't kindness, it isn't compassion, it is state-sponsored human cruelty on an industrial scale and the sooner we put an end to MIQ the better, and that is why the National Party is launching this campaign today."

He said fully vaccinated travellers coming to New Zealand presented negligble risk, with just two fully vaccinated arrivals in MIQ having tested positive after more than eight days in isolation.

"People who come into New Zealand with full vaccination, who pass a pre-departure test and a post-arrival test ... the risks that they have Covid is not zero, quite evidently it is not zero, but the risk is extremely low.

"Nothing's ever risk free in life, but the risk is negligible."

National's proposal would have people isolating at home for a week, using the same protections as are being used in the government's at-home self-isolation trial.

In the trial, participants must answer a randomly timed video call three times a day which detects location via GPS, and may only leave their room to collect contactless food and deliveries, for testing, or to get some fresh air if they have a backyard that no one else accesses.

The government has signalled it would start easing MIQ restrictions early next year.

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