Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints.
Mr Boshier says he has identified some common themes in about 200 complaints relating to the booking system.
Many of the complaints come from people who are having difficulties around the world obtaining vouchers for places in managed isolation or have concerns about the booking system overall.
“The complaints fit into four broad categories – they claim the allocation system is unlawful, unfit for purpose, unfair, and poorly managed. I have decided to do my own independent investigation into them all.”
“One of the specific complaints is that disabled people are being disadvantaged. I have concerns about whether the online booking system is accessible and whether suitable alternatives are being offered for those who have difficulty using this digital platform.”
Mr Boshier says he has notified the agency in charge of the booking system, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, of his intention to investigate.
“I want to give the public some assurance that the MIQ booking system is working as well as it should.”
“While I could investigate each of these complaints in turn, I don’t believe this is the most efficient way of addressing any underlying issues. That is why I am looking at them together.”
“When a new complaint comes in, my team will assess whether it should be addressed as part of this investigation or investigated and resolved individually.”
Mr Boshier will continue monitoring the wider MIQ system to identify any other interventions that may be needed.
He acknowledges the MIQ system was set up quickly in response to an immediate crisis.
“Border restrictions, along with managed isolation and quarantine facilities, are going to be a fact of life for some time to come.”
“I want to find out how MBIE is responding to these concerns and whether it has a robust plan in place for allocating places in the coming months and years. If there is not, I will recommend it makes improvements.” . .
The current plan is anything but robust.
Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are stranded overseas, many of them are in desperate situations, all are frustrated by a system that is not fit for purpose.
That people with Covid-19 are being trusted to self-isolate at home when those who are fully vaccinated, have a negative test before they board a flight and when they land, are still have to join the MIQueue to get home and are then subject to 14 days in MIQ makes it worse.