Overseas-based Kiwis trying to secure bookings in the Government’s latest release of managed isolation spots say it’s an “absolute joke and depressing”.
Wellsford woman Caroline, who is desperate to get to the UK to see her mum after her father passed away suddenly two years ago, was booted from the MIQ site despite being just 616th in the queue.
Talking to the Herald, Caroline said the system froze then kicked her out entirely.
“We were 616 in the queue and it suddenly froze and the button wouldn’t move.
“I had already picked my date on the MIQ calendar. Then we got a 404 error message and it booted us from the website.
“It’s an absolute shambles,” she said.
Caroline is desperate to get home to see her mum after her father passed away of cancer.
She says the whole MIQ booking system is a farce and is leading to a lot of stress and heartache for families.
“My mum is really depressed about losing her husband and can’t even see her granddaughter who is now a year old.
“It is the only thing keeping her going but she isn’t allowed in here on compassionate grounds.”
While she can not permanently, Caroline wants to get home to support her family.
“We can’t permanently leave because we have a business, a job, a mortgage here. We just want to be able to support my family before returning home safely.
“The website was s**t. I’m fuming. We feel so let down.”
One of those in line is Kate Saunders, who has been trying to get home from Melbourne for the past 19 months.
She is currently number 23,500.
Saunders called the process an “absolute joke and depressing”.
“So heartbreaking to be separated from family for this long, where’s the empathy from our leaders,” she said.
Another woman is hoping to secure a spot so she can return from the United States in time to see family for Christmas.
Last time she tried there were 23,000 people ahead of her. She has been logged in today since just after 4.30pm.
Retiree Tekla Kridle is hopeful she’ll secure a spot, and is in the small percentage of those within the 3000 margin.
“We are definitely less than 3000 and it’s just kinda ticking down slowing, and hopefully we’ll soon be redirected where we can book a room,” she said.
“Our dilemma at the moment now has turned into flights.
“We are finding it a really confusing system and some of the dates on the Air NZ travel alert PDF we have been sent don’t actually appear to be correct. We are just trying to work through that at the moment.”
She believed people who got a room have 48 hours to enter flight detail but that was proving more difficult than they had expected.
She said there appeared to be no flights home from Western Australia after November and the flights listed on a PDF from Air NZ don’t seem to match up with actual dates.
That means they are still unsure if they will get home, even if they can secure a room.
“For us it is still very much up in the air and it’s going to come down to availability of flights.”
Kamal Katnaur, who has 25,749 people ahead of him in the queue, said “MIQ is a joke”.
“The circus goes on.”
Kiri Martin is also one the thousands trying to get into the country and is currently number 23,026.
Last week, tens of thousands of Kiwis were left dejected after around 30,000 hopefuls logged on.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this afternoon said 12,000 rooms would be released in the next few weeks.
“The reason we stagger those releases is because some people may have urgent needs that only arise say, in October and November and it allows those people to get equal access if those needs arise a little closer to the time,” she said.
To get into the lobby, people have to have an account at the Managed Isolation Allocation System website and have all their personal – including passport – and flight details handy.
People can only make one booking for themselves or a group per turn and once the room release starts, everyone in the lobby will be randomly organised into a queue.
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