MIQ review a good step but more needs to be done

National is welcoming news that an in-depth review of the Pullman hotel and wider MIQ system began weeks ago, but is concerned by yet another example of Government ministers either being uninformed or failing to be open and transparent.

“National called for an urgent review of MIQ on January 28 and this was dismissed by the Prime Minister and Covid-19 Response Minister at the time, even though it had already started,” National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Did Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins know this review was underway, or is this another example of ministers being at odds with their officials about what work is actually being done?”

The latest community case linked to the Pullman Hotel further strengthens the case for segregating high-risk and low-risk arrivals into dedicated MIQ hotels, Mr Bishop says.

“Something has clearly gone wrong at the Pullman, and there are still legitimate concerns about many other practices at MIQ facilities across the country.

“Continued mingling between cohort arrivals, and a lack of separation between arrivals from high-risk and low-risk countries need to be sorted out urgently.

“National is calling for a risk-based approach to MIQ. This means, among other things, placing arrivals from high-risk areas, such as the UK, US and South Africa, into dedicated hotels.”