A hotel staff worker sanitises the outside of Stamford Plaza
A hotel worker sanitises outside of Stamford Plaza - Getty

Lloyd Burr: It’s time we scrapped MIQ

Opinion 20/10/2021

OPINION: It’s a system that has served this country well during the early days and unknown stages of this virus. 

It’s a system that more-or-less kept Covid out of New Zealand for more than 15 months, and allowed everyone to live relatively normal lives. 

But it’s no longer doing what it was set up to do. It was set up as a giant wall to keep the invaders out. But the invaders have made it into New Zealand. The castle wall has been breached, and the fight is now being waged within. 

We always knew this would happen, and that we’d have to adapt our borders accordingly. But we haven’t. We’re still screening every single arrivee, for great lengths of time, at great cost to taxpayers, only to release them into a population where Covid is actively spreading in the community. 

This isn’t an attack on those who work at MIQ, they do a great job. I’ve been through MIQ twice - it was tough but they made it as comfortable as possible. But it’s now safer in MIQ than it is outside of MIQ. 

Since the beginning of the outbreak, there have been 5213 cases of Covid in New Zealand. Right now, there are 767 active covid cases in the community. There are just 23 in MIQ. 

And of the 181,882 people who have been through MIQ since its inception, 1,343 positive cases were identified. So let’s re-think MIQ. It’s time for a smarter, more efficient, and cheaper system. 

It will mean an end to the farce of the MIQ lobby voucher system which is being investigated by the Chief ombudsman for being unlawful. It will mean an end to the wasteful spending of taxpayer money on running MIQ, which was nearly a billion-dollars in the last year. 

And it will mean an end to the farce of MIQ escapees. The virus has moved fast, and now we need to move fast adapting our systems to it. 

Otherwise MIQ will become more of a joke than it already is. 

Catch Lloyd Burr Live every weekday from 4pm on Magic Talk.