Govt agency scraps system 'gaming' MIQ booking

Source: 1 NEWS

A government agency has admitted it got it wrong when it employed students to monitor the MIQ website to try to grab quarantine spots for its staff.

A booking screen for New Zealand's MIQ system

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) had confirmed it was trialling a four-week pilot, employing three students to nab bookings for employees living and working overseas who want respite in Aotearoa, or have ended their tenure.

But today NZTE told 1 NEWS it was dropping the scheme.

"We have reviewed the pilot, sought feedback from a range of parties, and have decided to close it," a spokesperson said.

"Our intention was simply to look after the wellbeing of our people but we accept this is not the right way to go about it."

NZTE said that due to the current Covid-19 outbreak, in the end no MIQ places were secured through the scheme because no vouchers are currently being issued.

Prior to today's about-turn, National's Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop said he was appalled.

“Unbelievable. Having set up an unfair and opaque MIQ booking system, rather than fixing it, the Government is now making things worse by having its own agencies game the system," he said. "You couldn’t make this up.”