Most MIQ facilities to be closed by end of June

All but four of the 32 MIQ facilities will be converted back to ordinary hotels by the end of June. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi.

The vast majority of MIQ hotels will be closed by the end of June.

The government says now the border is starting reopen the demand for managed isolation is significantly reduced.

There are 32 MIQ facilities around the country, and all but four will be converted back to ordinary hotels.

Rydges Auckland will be the first to leave the MIQ network; its contract finishes at the end of April.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says a small number are being kept on while the Government works through what might be needed in the future.

Hipkins says this could include using hotels or purpose-built quarantine facilities.

"I expect to receive formal advice on this later in 2022."

He says many MIQ staff have already begun going back to their roles in the health, defence and police workforces.

"MIQ workers have been at the front line of keeping Covid-19 out of New Zealand and they have made considerable personal sacrifices to make sure the wider community is safe.

"MBIE is working with the remainder of its workforce and with employers, to help staff as we work through this period. With many sectors experiencing workforce shortages we are confident there are opportunities for people to be redeployed into work elsewhere."

MIQ was set up in April 2020.

The system undoubtedly saved lives but more recently has been under attack for preventing thousands of New Zealanders coming home.

New award recognises MIQ staff

The Government is establishing an award to recognise people who have contributed to New Zealand’s Covid-19 response, with MIQ staff to be the first recipients, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“The award provides a formal opportunity to acknowledge those who have played a critical role in our Covid-19 response.

"Our MIQ workforce has demonstrated care and professionalism, often at considerable personal risk and sacrifice and are worthy recipients of this award and our gratitude.

"MIQ workers have welcomed home over 230,000 Kiwis and supported more than 4,400 people from within our community who have had Covid-19. They have been a core part of our wall of defence against Covid-19.

"Working in MIQ often meant giving up on normal lives to protect others. I’ve heard stories of staff being ostracised through fear of infection and isolating and changing their normal routines to reduce the risk of passing on the virus to others.

"I can’t imagine the burden they have carried and this recognition is the least we can do to thank them for their service and sacrifice."

The award will take the form of a lapel pin.

Officials are working on design, eligibility and criteria with further details to come as the work progresses.

Ardern says this award to the MIQ workforce is the first to be announced.

"Recognition will be extended to other groups who have contributed to New Zealand’s Covid-19 response, with further announcements to be made in due course.

"Our Covid-19 response has and continues to be a true team effort that is not over, but the Government wants to ensure those on the frontline get the recognition they deserve for what they helped achieve."

-Additional reporting by RNZ.




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2 Comments

Give them a medal?

Posted on 11-03-2022 15:49 | By morepork

Not saying they don’t deserve one, and the thanks of a grateful nation, but wouldn’t a cash acknowledgement make more sense for people who were derived and pushed more than the rest of us?

Advise

Posted on 10-03-2022 08:58 | By Slim Shady

Hipkins - waiting for advise! From who?

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