Thursday, September 2, 2021

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Chris Hipkins needs to use his power rather than rely on kindness


I agree with Chris Hipkins that overseas Kiwis hoping to come for a summer holiday shouldn’t be doing that.  

We’ve been saying this on this show for quite a while now.  

There just isn’t enough MIQ space for luxuries like a holiday right now.  

Even if the Government increased MIQ capacity, there still wouldn't’ be enough. 

On the radio this morning I heard a woman stuck in London, in tears because her mum’s been admitted hospital, and is waiting for a diagnosis that could be terminal, but she can’t home to see her mum. 

We’ve heard of the family who went to the US for potentially lifesaving cancer treatment for their 11-year-old who’ve been declined an MIQ space. 

There’s the couple stuck in the UK who’ve sold their house, quit work and sent all their belongings back to NZ, but haven’t been able to get an MIQ space for 3 months. 

Summer holidays don’t cut it as a reason important enough to deny those desperate people the few available MIQ spaces.  

But it isn’t really enough for Chris Hipkins to ask people to do the right thing. 

He needs to stop holidayers coming through MIQ.  

He has the power. That’s the privilege of being in Government.  

The Australians have done it. If you’re an Aussie in Aussie you can’t get out, you need government permission to leave. That stops unnecessary waste of precious MIQ by people wanting to holiday.  

Hipkins could do a proper shake up of MIQ, not the nonsense ‘random’ lottery he suggested yesterday.    

Former consul general to LA Maurice Williamson was on with us two days ago.  He studied computerised resource allocation – which is what the MIQ system needs - and he reckons it should be run like the immigration system: Give people points based on their need  

That way the most needy get it first.  

If they’re coming back to live or because someone in the family’s dying, they get a good lot of points.  

They get more points for every week that they wait.  

Summer holidays? Hardly any points.  

It’s such a good idea, it’s just been nicked by the Nats as policy they launched today.   

The MIQ system is desperate.  It has to be fixed. Chris Hipkins is going to have to do more than rely on the kindness of people based overseas.  

He’s actually got the power to fix this. He should use that power. 

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


oneblokesview said...

Of Course Williamson is a former Minister in a Nats Government. IT is his forte
I suspect this idea has been under discussion for some time, him included.

But the soundbite. The Nats nicked it sounds better :-)

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

Great suggestion here about a points system for MIQ allocations.
We're stranded in Turkey and have about the same chance as most 'Grounded Kiwis' (Google them and see their website) of getting back this year - NIL.
Indeed the chances of getting back any time within 6 months are very slim. That's despite severe disability on my wife's part, and I think our ages should count for something too.
It's scandalous the way tens of thousands of NZers stuck overseas have effectively been abandoned when some developing countries have been doing their damnedest to bring their citizens home.