$6.5 million in MIQ fees overdue and unpaid

After nearly a year of charging for MIQ, it’s staggering the Government hasn’t made paying for MIQ easier and made more of an effort to go after those who aren’t paying their fees, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

Answers to written questions show the Government has invoiced $64.4 million since MIQ charging began, with $42.7 million paid. $21.7 million is unpaid and $6.5 million hasn’t been paid within 90 days and is overdue.

“There is still $3.3 million left unpaid from people who stayed in MIQ in 2020, dating back to stays in August last year,” Mr Bishop says.

“The Government should be chasing these people up and engaging debt collectors if they are simply refusing to pay. That’s what most people would expect the Government to be doing.

“Charging for MIQ has been in place for nearly a year but the Government still can’t seem to manage it. National is regularly contacted by people going through MIQ who are astonished at how difficult it is to do the right thing and pay the MIQ fees they are invoiced.

“The average time it takes someone to be invoiced for their stay in MIQ is 43 days.

“No business would ever operate an honestly system like the Government is. At the end of the day, this is taxpayer money and it should be paid back.

“I know of people who have chased the government for months, asking for an invoice so they can pay their bills.

“The Government has had many opportunities to make changes and improve the system. It keeps saying it’s looking at options to make it easier for people to pay.

“Rather than talking about it, the Government needs to take action and deliver. A good start would be to take credit card details upfront like commercial hotels do.”

Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions can be found here.