The MIQ Saga and Cheating Bastards
So we have an interesting development in Managed Isolation/Quarantine. We have muppets – oh so clever muppets – thinking they’ve found a legal workaround. Currently, in order to enter New Zealand, you need to successfully book a spot in MIQ facilities. Aforementioned muppets have settled on this plan as a result:
- Book a transit flight from Australia to the USA via Auckland.
- When in Auckland, go through Immigration, on the grounds that as a New Zealand citizen, you cannot be refused entry.
- Comply with requirements to go into MIQ, albeit without a booked slot.
This was laid out, together with some understandable annoyance on the part of authorities, in a news article yesterday:
I must say, I was particularly irritated by a consulted lawyer giving the thumbs up, in particular this paragraph:
“There may be an attempt to find some sort of generic charge, but I believe it may be difficult to enforce. When we have a Government that doesn’t take action when a temporary visa holder with Omicron breaks the rules for home isolation, it is difficult to believe they would take action against desperate grounded Kiwis just trying to get home.”
These prospective rule-breakers aren’t desperate, of course. They’ve had years to get back if they really thought of this country as their beloved home, and there have been multiple periods of time – most notably last November and early December – where there were more available MIQ spots than applications. Quite apart from the fact that they know full well that they are potential disease vectors, potentially bringing the disease into New Zealand. You don’t treat your home like that. Not if you cared one iota about anybody else’s well-being.
To me, the only desperation on display is that of privileged arseholes disappointed that their right to travel is considered less important than our right to keep the disease out as much as possible.
But we’ve now also had a prominent law lecturer weigh in on the subject…
Knight refers to the Health Order obligation to have a confirmed MIQ allocation to enter:
If Health Orders conflict with existing legislation, those Health Orders take precedence. So even if someone were able to enter New Zealand via this strategy, they would find themselves whacked with non-trivial criminal charges. And few locals (outside the media class) would shed a tear.
I’d also further point out the way in which Auckland Airport currently processes transit passengers (something I know about because I’m in communication with an acquaintance currently in MIQ via a flight with transit passengers). On arrival, transit passengers are told to leave the plane, and are ushered into a special holding area. Everyone else then gets out and heads for customs. In order to pursue this strategy, someone would not only be disobeying explicit instructions, but would also find themselves in the midst of passengers who did obey the rules, and who presumably would not appreciate finding themselves in the company of a privileged muppet. Cue the police getting involved…
Further on the point of MIQ, it has become something of an article of faith among certain people that MIQ is so incredibly incompetent that there are rooms going empty, even while “desperate Kiwis” are blocked from returning home. For example:
That is also something I can shed some light on. You see, my aforementioned MIQ acquaintance applied for an extra day’s extension (yes, really), because they wanted to leave in time for an internal flight. They were denied this extension. Why? Because there are few rooms currently available.
This is down to the process of Cohorting. Basically, in order to prevent incoming people from infecting outgoing people, ‘old’ and ‘new’ arrivals are not allowed to mix. Once a Quarantine Hotel gets an influx of fresh arrivals, it does not fill up any remaining rooms left after the influx. Cohorting was adopted after some MIQ leakages in 2020, and is an eminently sensible precaution. Learning from one’s mistakes and all that, and I dare say the muppets here are not MIQ management.