Hope fading as MIQ line hits 25,000 for 3000 spots

Photo: Alexia Russell/RNZ.

Hopes are fading fast as queues stretch to 25,000 for New Zealanders trying to secure one of 3000 managed isolation spots into the country.

At 9am on Monday, 3000 New Zealand managed isolation and quarantine spaces opened for people wanting to get home in the months leading up to Christmas.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) “virtual lobby” opened ay 8am, but the room allocations did not start until 9am.

“This is not a first-in, first-served model,” MIQ joint head Megan Main says.

“It doesn’t matter when people arrive in the lobby in that one-hour period, everyone has an equal chance of getting through to try to secure a room.

“Once the room release starts, all of the people in the lobby will be automatically moved into a queue – this will be randomised, removing the need to be the fastest.”

MBIE could not say on Monday morning how many people had logged in around the world. Stuff has heard from two people, who are 23,000 and 25,000 in the queue.

In Wellington, Ali Watt is trying to secure a spot for her nephew Jason Potter to return from the United Kingdom to see family – including his sister’s two-month-old baby for the first time. She was 16,705th in the queue when she first logged on. Ninety minutes later she was at 16,704.

“There’s absolutely no way we will get a spot,” she says.

For Christchurch woman Tekla Kridle, stuck in Perth in Australia, there were two big question marks as she waited in the virtual lobby ahead of the 9am allocation: First, whether she would defy the odds and get an MIQ spot and, then, whether she would be able to get a plane ticket.

She is trying to book flights back home, but they were “all pretty booked up” since she last checked – presumably by people who had booked flights in the hope they would be able to get an MIQ spot.

“I don’t know if I rate [my chances] that highly,” she says.

Associate Deputy Secretary Managed Isolation and Quarantine Andrew Milne earlier said the lobby system was being tried out in response to “user feedback” and was intended to make booking more transparent and create a more level playing field for people trying to access the booking site.

“MIQ will closely monitor how well the lobby system works and whether any further changes are needed.”

Milne earlier said there were 198,010 people registered in system. However, this figure did not distinguish between people who had secured a voucher and have already travelled, and people who have not secured a voucher.

That number may also contain duplicate entries, he says.

“It is not possible to accurately determine how many people who are registered in the system are waiting for an MIQ spot.”

Milne said while they weren’t sure what demand would be like when the lobby system launched before the MIQ system was paused, on average there were 17,000 to 19,000 users on the website each day.

-Stuff/Tom Hunt.

More on SunLive...
You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now

Whichever way you slice it

Posted on 20-09-2021 10:55 | By

The election of leaders that have zero real-world skills and have got by through popularity poles is coming back to bite the nation in the butt... No ability to forward think a situation results in firefighting and that ultimately results in additional costs and increasing numbers of fires popping up. Having the most diverse government doesn’t equate to having a government that knows what they’re doing or how to do it.


Posted on 20-09-2021 09:58 | By

if it wasn’t such a disgrace it would be funny. "Team of 5 million" bullshit. The spots are just for VIPs like hypocritical MPs and cricket players. How does being in a 5 star hotel in Dubai qualify as an "emergency"? They chose to go on tour. Now they are in a safe country in luxury. What’s the emergency??