There were 25,000 New Zealanders around the world trapped in front of their screens today, desperately trying to get a space in isolation and quarantine administered in an attempt to return home.
It was the third launch of the MIQ virtual lobby system, with around 3,700 rooms launched.
But for many, it was one more blow.
Auckland woman Roshni Sami has been trying to secure a place in managed isolation for her husband, so that he can return to New Zealand for the birth of their first child.
She is 29 weeks pregnant and has had extenuating circumstances throughout her pregnancy.
But her husband Walt, who is in Tennessee with his family, has been turned away for an emergency space at MIQ.
The couple has appealed that decision in Superior Court.
“We were hoping that four or five months would be enough time to go through the old MIQ system and get a spot, but then it was all scrapped and now we are in the lottery with everyone else and it is getting very desperate for us and us.” They are both extremely concerned. “
They were at 24,237 in the queue when rooms first opened at noon, dropping to around 20,000 on the list and losing space once again.
“The government has really let us down on this side of things, obviously they just didn’t think about women or women’s health when they set the MIQ emergency classification. It is totally gender blind and also totally hostile to families.” .
Martin Newell, who is part of the Grounded Kiwis group that is working to support hundreds of New Zealanders trapped abroad, said there were tears of joy and tears of sadness from those competing for a place at MIQ today.
“We have heard stories of sisters who need to say goodbye to their sisters on the other side of the world. We have heard stories of pregnant women who also need to go home for medically essential reasons to give birth, we have had people in America who stay longer. time of their visa and they risk being detained because the New Zealand government will not provide them a place in the MIQ system.
“People are desperate and the system is broken and needs to be fixed.”
He said New Zealanders trying to get home were frustrated, exhausted, angry and desperate.
Last week, nearly 23,000 people signed a petition urging the government to create a fairer managed isolation system.
“The reservation system is unfair, the system does not have enough supply and does not take fully vaccinated travelers into account.”
Tauranga’s wife, Caroline Salisbury, was also devastated to miss a place. She is waiting in Queensland for the opportunity to return home after visiting her son after the death of both of his parents.
He flew to Australia the day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the trans-Tasman bubble was on hold and has not been able to return since.
“It’s quite distressing and very unsettling … you go looking forward to Sunday and Monday thinking, will I be lucky this time?”
On his third attempt today to reserve a spot today, he started with 17,959 in the queue.
“For me, home isolation is the answer to all of this. Trusting people or not even trusting us, putting on anklets, using voice or photo recognition software, is not that difficult. world are doing home insulation, it’s done here in Australia. “
He said the system desperately needs to change.