During the height of Covid restrictions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern imposed a dystopian zero-Covid policy that resulted in New Zealanders stuck in other countries and unable to return home.
Ardern’s isolation and quarantine policy imposed on travellers meant that thousands of New Zealanders desperate to return home essentially had to roll the dice month after month as they tried to secure a bed in a quarantine hotel run by the military.
Last week a New Zealand court ruled that the Government had breached the rights of its citizens by imposing the lottery-style system on them.
Managed Isolation and Quarantine (“MIQ”)
Ardern announced compulsory MIQ on 9 April 2020 with the system coming into effect for people boarding flights to New Zealand from midnight that day. She explained Government had been considering this measure for some time, but there simply was not the capacity to introduce these measures any earlier as almost 40,000 New Zealanders had returned since 20 March, a number larger than all the country’s hotel rooms. The Government would use up to 18 hotels, Ardern announced. But by early July this increased to 26 hotels and increased again to 32 by early August.
From 5 October 2020, anyone entering New Zealand was forced to book a place at a MIQ facility using the Government’s managed isolation allocation system. On the day of its launch, the website collapsed with numerous people reporting trouble making bookings.
From 5 November 2020, anyone entering New Zealand was legally required to show a voucher proving that they had secured a place in a MIQ facility before flying.