“The Government’s postponement of home isolation for Kiwis arriving from Australia proved futile, with Omicron circulating before 17 January when they would have been allowed to come home without MIQ,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“My email inbox is filled daily with people sharing horrendous MIQ experiences. People stuck offshore with no means to support themselves, families separated, businesses frustrated, people enduring terrible conditions. The Government is not properly weighing these costs.

“The Government said it was forcing people to continue the torture of MIQ to keep Omicron out of New Zealand for as long as possible. That objective clearly failed. Keeping MIQ has been for nothing. Had people been able to self-isolate from Monday 17 January, it would have made no difference to the arrival of Omicron in New Zealand.

“Now the Government is giving a different reason for continuing MIQ, again without any analysis. The Government says that continuing MIQ for another five weeks will stop the ‘seeding’ of new cases. ACT predicts that this too will make little difference to the spread of Omicron. It certainly won't justify the misery it imposes on the team of six million.

“There will be tens of thousands of people isolating at home with Omicron, but Kiwis offshore will be forced to queue for places in MIQ to return to their country. It is totally illogical.

“The Government should accept its logic was faulty and end MIQ in favour of home isolation for fully vaccinated, negative tested travellers immediately. Continuing the misery for Kiwis stuck offshore is not justified, and it should end.”

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