“ACT welcomes the news that migrant families who have been cruelly separated for far too long will be reunited, but 1500 empty MIQ rooms shows there’s no reason both them and desperately needed workers can’t be here now,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“As of today in MIQ there are 1,500 empty rooms. The Government has been planning the Trans-Tasman bubble for months, it should have planned ahead so those spaces that have been freed up were filled immediately. It’s just poor planning to leave rooms empty while families are torn apart and businesses are crying out for workers.
“If this really is the Government of “kindness” it would have ensured that families could have been together at the earliest possible opportunity. Stories of parents and children not seeing other for a year, or husbands and wives being separated were completely unnecessary.
“If this really was the Government of “kindness” it wouldn’t leave business on the brink of collapse because they can’t get workers and it wouldn’t leave fruit rotting on the ground. There is nothing kind about leaving these rooms empty.
“Just a bit of forward planning would have stopped this from happening. Unfortunately we have a Government that is entirely reactive and doesn’t seem to be able plan anything in advance.
“This lack of clarity is having a huge mental and economic toll, not just here but in the Pacific Islands.
“The Government needs to stop playing politics with people’s livelihoods and emotions. It’s time to do the right thing. We have an opportunity now to fill these rooms with people who will make a real contribution to New Zealand, let’s not let the opportunity pass us by.”