Thursday, May 6, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalGovt Knows MIQ Network Could Be Bigger, But Won’t Act

Govt Knows MIQ Network Could Be Bigger, But Won’t Act


“The Government knows the Managed Isolation and
Quarantine (MIQ) network could be 23 hotels bigger – it
commissioned work on it and was told so – but has done
nothing about it, leaving thousands of Kiwis stranded
overseas unable to get a place in MIQ,” says ACT Leader
David Seymour.

“Once MIQ constraints became
apparent, training should have begun to ensure enough staff
were available to run the extra facilities.

“Earlier
this month MIQ spaces released for June and July caused the
booking website to crash, again, but somehow 126 places have
been found for the cast and crew of the Lion King stage
show.

“But there should be enough room for the Lion
King production, other critical workers and returning
Kiwis.

Details
released to ACT under the Official Information Act

reveal MBIE did ‘desk assessments of 70 potential
additional MIQ facilities.’

“Of these 55 had
further physical assessments and were considered suitable
for being used for MIQ, but the Government settled on a
network of 32 and hasn’t budged since.

“MBIE
hasn’t been tasked with increasing the size of the network
by even one more hotel, telling ACT: ‘At this stage, the
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has
not been asked to increase the size of the MIQ
network.’

“This will be a crushing blow to Kiwis
offshore who can’t book a room in MIQ, not to mention
orchardists and vineyard owners around the country whose
fruit is rotting on trees and vines.

“Last November
Hawke’s Bay orchardists worked with the local DHB on a
proposal for an MIQ facility close to their properties, but
the Government said no.

“Since then a fraction of
the required picking workforce from the Pacific has been
allowed in, but even that has added to the unnecessary
constraint on the MIQ network.

“Across the Tasman
the sort of facility Hawke’s Bay orchardists proposed has
just opened at Riverland in South Australia for 1,200
Pacific Island fruit pickers, after Government efforts to
attract locals to pick the fruit failed.

“Sound
familiar? The only difference is the South Australian
Government recognised its folly and came to business
community’s rescue. They’re saving the
crop.

“Meanwhile this Government talks about
continuous improvement but does nothing to suggest it
isn’t just its latest catchphrase.

“If it knew it
could stand up more MIQ facilities, why didn’t it start
training more people to staff them? Again New Zealanders are
being badly let down by poor coordination in the COVID
response.

“That’s why I encourage the Government
to put in place some of the sensible policy solutions in
ACT’s COVID
Response Plan
2.0
.”

© Scoop Media

 



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