'Can't make any plans': Kiwis abroad say MIQ changes are 'disappointing', feel forgotten

Lloyd Burr 28/10/2021

LISTEN: The government has announced significant changes to managed isolation and quarantine.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins outlined what the changes would mean for travellers wishing to enter New Zealand, including reducing the cost and length of time in MIQ.

The changes will also add an extra 1,500 MIQ spots per month.

PCR testing while in MIQ will happen on day 0, day 3 and day 6, and once released on day 7, they will have to isolate themselves at home for 3 days with a final PCR test on the 3rd day.

Provided the government's traffic light system works, and all things going well, the MIQ system will be bypassed altogether for those who're fully vaccinated. They will be allowed to isolate at home instead.

South Auckland community leader Jerome Mika says the changes are "really encouraging".

"Especially with some of the families that have had loved ones overseas in Samoa and Tonga," he told Lloyd Burr Live.

"It is an encouraging sign for our Pacific Islands but it's a gradual signal also from the government in terms of opening up the border."

Mika believes it will encourage people to get vaccinated.

"It's paramount that we have everyone vaccinated and up to 90 percent as well," he said.

But a Kiwi teacher stuck in Queensland says the changes are "disappointing", particularly for people like her in extremely low-risk areas where COVID-19 is non-existent.

"Currently I'm in Bundaberg, Queensland where there has been no cases in quite a long time and we've got no COVID cases in the community in Queensland," Samantha Matheson told Lloyd Burr Live.

Matheson has been trying since July to return home and was hoping the government would announce the return of the Trans-Tasman bubble.

"It was quite disappointing not to hear anything," she said.

"We're just at the point now where we can't make any plans."

Important dates:

  • From November 1, all non-New Zealand passport holders will need to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country.
  • From November 8, MIQ requirements will be scrapped for those arriving from Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Tokelau. They will need to be fully vaccinated.
  • From November 14, the two-week MIQ period will be split in half to seven days. The reduced stay means the cost of MIQ will be halved to $1610 per person.

Listen to the full interview with Jerome Mika and Samantha Matheson above.

Magic Talk | Lloyd Burr Live, weekdays from 4pm.

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