“Chris Hipkins’ apology to Charlotte Bellis at least tells us where the Government’s standards are: The Government will apologise if the Government leaks a pregnant woman’s private information,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“A government minister spread misinformation about Charlotte Bellis’ circumstances, saying she had been offered MIQ spots when she had not. The Government is not apologising for the misery its policy caused, only for getting caught out spinning it.

“The Government should be apologising for running an inhumane system. The courts found the MIQ system did not adequately prioritise need, instead subjecting people to a lottery. That is the first policy failing.

“The Government should apologise for spending $178 million on MIQ in the months December 2021- March 2022, after Ashley Bloomfield had advised MIQ was no longer necessary. Included in that period was Charlotte Bellis’ repeated failed attempts to get a spot, forcing her to seek refuge with the Taliban.

“Of course, the $178 million is the cost of running MIQ for those who got a spot. It does not include the much larger cost of all the people who would have come to New Zealand had spots been available. If five people who would have paid missed out on a spot for every person who got one, that is a billion dollars of total cost from the decision.

“The Government has rightly apologised for spreading misinformation about a citizen’s personal circumstances, now it should apologise for running MIQ selection so inhumanely and running it four months longer than necessary at enormous cost to the taxpayer and economy."