How much travellers will pay for isolation hotel stays

Travellers required to pay for their managed isolation hotel stay will pay $3100 per room and $950 for each extra adult and $475 per child.

But there would be mechanisms to allow charges to be waived in full or in part.

The Government announced the legislation today which it intends to be rushed through Parliament in the next two weeks before the election.

It will mean a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) charge for:

• People who leave New Zealand after the legislation comes into effect; or

• People who are visiting New Zealand temporarily.

The legislation is not supported by NZ First which has invoked the "Agree to Disagree" provisions of their coalition agreement with Labour.

Cabinet Minister Megan Woods said the Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill provides a legal framework to allow the Government to set payment terms, exempt groups of people and waive charges in cases of financial hardship.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said they wanted all returnees charged as it was "grossly unfair" to burden taxpayers with the cost of the MIQ system.

“The Bill will allow the government to charge for managed isolation and quarantine facilities. We have carefully considered how to design a system that is fair on arrivals and not a barrier for returning to New Zealand, especially for those who might already be experiencing financial stress,” said Megan Woods.

“We want to share the costs in a way that fairly reflects the benefits to both the New Zealand public of having such a robust system, and those who leave and enter the country.

“As Minister I am proposing to only charge New Zealanders who enter temporarily, or who leave New Zealand after the regulations come into force. Temporary visa holders would have to pay unless they were ordinarily resident in New Zealand before the border closure, and left before the border closure. I intend to seek Cabinet agreement to a charging structure of $3100 per person in a room, $950 for each additional adult and $475 for each additional child sharing the room. There will also be mechanisms to allow charges to be waived in full or in part,” said Megan Woods.

The Covid-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill provides a legal framework to allow the Government to set payment terms, exempt groups of people and waive charges in cases of financial hardship. It will also ensure that recovered charges do not exceed the actual costs of managed isolation and quarantine.

“The legislation will be passed next week before the House rises for the parliamentary term, and will enable regulations to be developed. Further details of the charging scheme and when it will come into force, will be announced soon. Charges will not apply to anyone entering New Zealand and going into MIQ before regulations are in force.

“We are carefully balancing the rights of New Zealand citizens and residents to return home and the charges structure will be designed to maintain this right. This solution balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home, while ensuring those who choose to holiday here, or holiday overseas before returning home, are contributing to the considerable cost of managed isolation,” said Megan Woods.

The Government has set aside a total of $479 million to pay for the costs of Managed Isolation facilities until the end of the year.

And an estimated 600,000 to 900,000 New Zealand citizens are living overseas, with around 400,000 to 600,000 living in Australia. It is unknown how many are intending to return.

Woods said every confirmed Covid-19 case in June and July has been linked to international travel.

"Our managed isolation and quarantine system is working. It is keeping Covid-19 at the border and stopping community transmission."

The Government said the charge didn't impede the New Zealanders' right to come home because:

• People are not charged any more than the actual and reasonable costs of MIQ,
• Fees can be waived in cases of financial hardship,
• No upfront payment would be required, and
• There will be flexibility in how people could pay.

 

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