“ACT is glad to see Grounded Kiwis succeed in their high court challenge against the Government,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“MIQ was an exercise in cruelty that excluded up to a million people from our team of six million. It’s insane that the only way people could come home was from relentlessly refreshing their browsers, and the lobby made no difference to the cruel calculus of too many people, not enough spaces.

“The system was inflexible and illogical, people wanted to come for many reasons - family reunions, deaths of loved ones, the arrival of new babies, to fill jobs, and just being with family and friends. Our government kept them locked out to fight over a tiny number of MIQ spaces.

“As a local MP I’m unsurprised to see this result. My inbox was flooded with cases for exemptions, and it appeared there was no rhyme or reason to who was successful but political fallout or the potential for it seemed to be a factor.

“ACT called for the Government to follow its own advice right from the beginning and take a ‘wellbeing approach’ to COVID. Acknowledging the significance but weighing up the costs of our COVID response at the same time.

“Sadly it is reflective of much of the Government’s decision making throughout COVID in that they put politics ahead of public health and sanity, and ruled through fear and control.

“The Government failed to weigh up the costs of these decisions and act in the best interests of Kiwis. While MIQ kept people stuck overseas our businesses suffered and many people have experienced devastating personal tragedies.

“The Government owes all those who were stuck in limbo overseas an apology.”