Tuesday 15 November 2022

MIQ v3

Marc Daalder at Newsroom points to the government's contingency plans should it wish to again stand up an MIQ system at the border

Unfortunately, it looks an awful lot like the old system. Government would contract with hotels to provide facilities, scaling up to provide 6000 rooms over 8 weeks. 

We'd put up a sharply different alternative in the winter of 2020. In that setup, government would flip from contracting for rooms to certifying and auditing standards-compliance while providing vouchers to support the costs of MIQ stays for those whose stays the government wished to subsidise. The hotels could contract with government, or other providers, for security and other services. But the government would be sharply monitoring standards and compliance.

Under that flipped system, government would be within its proper role and comparative advantage, while the private sector could handle what it does well. There'd be no need for government to set priority categories or manage queues. It would just require that anyone boarding transit to New Zealand present evidence of a booking at an authorised facility. The facilities could manage their own bookings. Hotels know how to do that. Governments don't. And the system could expand to meet demand when it needed to, so long as there was willingness to pay for it. 

It seems unlikely that MIQ v3 will be invoked. Or at least the situations that would warrant it would seem to simultaneously require a renewed lockdown where we wouldn't otherwise be able to tell whether the new variant had already gotten here. And there seems little chance that the government would do that where they won't even look back again at mask requirements during surges in cases. But whatever MBIE's put together now will also be the playbook if some new disease crops up requiring it. 

I can kinda get why the government didn't want to shift to my proposed system in July 2020. They were scared of breaking anything. But now we're looking at setting a system for future events. There's time to not screw it up. They've screwed it up anyway. 

Add it to the list of things that will need to be attended to by some future better incoming government. 

Also mildly amused in thinking back on all the Labour brainworm people who thought I was some kind of death merchant in 2020 for proposing a workable better system that wasn't Labour's system. I'm now the only one wearing a mask at public events, while they're all drinking Ardern's let's-all-get-Covid kool-aid. And my system still makes more sense.

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