MIQ assaults against Defence staff unacceptable aspect of endless, thankless task

The revelation that Defence Force personnel are being assaulted while posted to MIQ duties is unacceptable, says National Party Defence Spokesperson Chris Penk.

“Our men and women in uniform have been taken away from their regular duties to act as hotel staff and security guards as part of Operation Protect.  This is the Defence Force’s contribution to New Zealand ‘s COVID response.

“It’s bad enough that qualified personnel are understood to be leaving in droves, largely due to endless and thankless duties watching hotel doors.  But it’s even worse that the MIQ environment is proving increasingly hostile, including in a physical sense.

“National can reveal that there have been no fewer than 9 different reported incidents of assault against NZDF personnel, according to official statistics, and anecdotally many more concerning incidents.

“Our military personnel are going above and beyond the usual call of duty, by serving in the MIQ system.  They deserve much better than this.

“National has committed to ending the misery that is the MIQ lottery for the sake of Kiwis wanting to return to New Zealand and to ensure a more rational use of resources, given there’s COVID in the community.  Our call to wind back Operation Protect will allow the New Zealand Defence Force to focus once more on its core duties and end this senseless violence against them into the bargain.”

You can find an answer to a Written Parliamentary Question below:

Question:

How many NZDF personnel, if any, have been assaulted while deployed on Operation Protect?

Reply:

I am advised that as of 10 November, nine members of the New Zealand Defence Force posted on Operation PROTECT duties have been assaulted by members of the public or guests/returnees at Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities.