$8 million in overdue MIQ payments

Latest figures released to National show there is about $8 million in overdue MIQ payments and that only in the last couple of weeks has the Government started to use debt collectors to chase the money, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

As at 1 July 2021, $8,011,971 was overdue in MIQ payments, out of $100 million invoiced since the system began. A further $30 million has been invoiced but is not yet due for payment.

“MIQ has been running for more than a year now but only in the last couple of weeks has the Government got its act together and started using debt collectors to chase the taxpayer money owed,” Mr Bishop says.

“On July 2, 100 invoices, worth $332,000 were issued to debt collectors. But so far just $49,000 has been recovered through this process.

“New Zealanders will be rightly frustrated that it is only now, more than a year after MIQ started, that the Government is properly chasing money owed to the taxpayer. We use debt collectors for student loan debt, we should’ve been using it for MIQ all along too.

“The latest MIQ figures also show that invoicing has been a massive mess.

“In June this year, only 30 per cent of all MIQ invoices issued were issued on time. There has also been a sudden jump in the amount issued, from $64 million in June to more than $90 million in July. This shows officials have been systematically under-invoicing for months.

“It beggars belief the Government still hasn’t managed to get this sorted. How many thousands of people were not issued with proper invoices when they should’ve been, and how much has the taxpayer missed out on because of the Government’s ineptitude?

“The Government has had many opportunities to make changes and improve the system. One easy way would be for MIQ facilities to take credit cards up front when people book into MIQ. This happens when staying in a hotel, it’s not a foreign concept.

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

You can find the figures referenced in a Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) attachment here.