Fresh batch of MIQ spots available from 6pm

Source: 1News

It's back to the lobby for tens of thousands of New Zealanders wanting to head back into Aotearoa as they prepare to wait anxiously for a spot in MIQ. 

MIQ Helpers is being accused of cashing in on people’s desperation.

The Government is releasing its next raft of managed isolation spots from 6pm today - Tuesday - after 25,000 people joined the queue for last week's release of 3000 rooms. 

Its new MIQ booking system, aimed to make the process more equitable, caused headaches for many as they were left waiting only to find out they wouldn't get a room. 

There were roughly 11,000 people in the queue when Sue Hotu joined last week; she sat there for hours watching as rooms were snatched up but wasn't successful. 

"Sitting there for three hours and watching the numbers go down, that was real hard," she told Breakfast.

"You just sat there waiting to see if anybody else had got out of the line." 

Hotu is stuck in the Gold Coast, having headed across the Tasman to care for her unwell daughter, but since then, she's made multiple unsuccessful attempts to get back home to New Zealand.

People walk past a MIQ facility

"My husband has been very patient, he's home alone, and I've got other children and grandchildren that I want to get back to."

Hoping she'll be given a spot this time, Hotu is concerned she'll be penalised by Australia for outlasting her stay. 

"Since I'm a visitor, we're only allowed 30 weeks here, and I've since found out we may have to pay for the six months that we've been here, so that's distressing by itself." 

Her time in Australia runs out from November 10, despite spending months wanting to get home with no luck. 

Hotu says there's added stress to how New Zealand's managed isolation booking system operates, as even after people secure their MIQ spot, they need to find a way to get a flight home. 

Unlike Australia, New Zealand's MIQ spaces don't have a flight attached to them, which she says is likely a problematic hurdle for some. 

"The hard thing about New Zealand is that they don't have a flight attached to it, where Australia does. So when you get your MIQ spots, you've still got to spend time looking for a flight." 

Louise Katuke is returning home with her family for the first time in 16 years after securing spaces in managed isolation, and she agrees the process is flawed. 

She says her family has faced that same struggle while trying to secure flights back into New Zealand from Brisbane. 

"It makes sense that if you book a flight, it should come with a MIQ spot. 

"People are having massive trouble with that like we had massive trouble with that." 

Currently, Kiwis wanting to return home have to select a confirmed flight before they can begin booking flights for their stay in MIQ.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have designed a flight checker page to help search for confirmed flights. 

Approximately 3000 MIQ rooms will open up for spaces in October, November and December from 6pm today - Tuesday, September 28 - with the lobby opening from an hour beforehand.

To find out more information about the MIQ lobby booking system, click here.