Vouchers and the Managed Isolation Allocation System

Information on this page can be attributed to a managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson.

Managed Isolation and Quarantine is aware that travelling around the world right now is not simple or easy and acknowledges that there are many people in really difficult situations as a result of this global pandemic.

In periods of high demand capacity is limited

The primary role of Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) is to keep Covid-19 out of New Zealand and part of that is managing the flow of people into the country.

MIQ has served New Zealand well, helping to bring more than 170,000 people here, while protecting the freedoms that we all now enjoy.

We want to be able to bring everyone home who wants to return but we have to do that in a safe, managed way. For New Zealand, that number is about 4,000 rooms a fortnight, which is more rooms per-capita than Australia has.

The reality is that demand for space in managed isolation facilities is always high, and there is finite capacity within the MIQ system, and that’s for good reason – Covid-19 is raging around the world and we need to keep New Zealand safe.

During April and May we had a sustained period of lower demand where MIQ spaces were available for many weeks. At that time, people were urged to take advantage of the available spaces.

There’s no silver bullet that means everybody can get home when they want. Unfortunately, in periods of high demand, some people will miss out on securing a MIQ voucher, regardless of the system that is used. New Zealanders can still come home but they may not be able to travel on the dates they would prefer.

Booking vouchers

MIQ will be rolling out a virtual lobby for the next room release, taking place on 20 September 9am NZT, in the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

Find out more about the virtual lobby

We begin to release rooms online once airlines have confirmed their flight schedules with MIQ.

We aim to start releasing rooms 4 to 6 months prior to arrival dates, with 40% of rooms initially released and the remaining 60% gradually released in batches each month up until arrival date. This timing is dependent on what is happening in the broader COVID-19 environment and is not always possible, but we will now be announcing when room releases will be happening.

We aim to hold 10% of rooms in reserve one month prior to arrival date, and release these 2 weeks before arrival to allow for flexibility in the system to respond to unexpected events.

For those experiencing difficulties with Wi-Fi or phone signals, managed isolation vouchers can be booked by another individual on their behalf. For example if a person has difficulty accessing the internet, or if they have language or accessibility issues, they can get a family member or friend to book a voucher for them.

For people overseas who have been unable to secure a voucher via the Managed Isolation Allocation System and need to travel urgently, they are able to apply for an emergency allocation.

Find out more about Emergency allocation requests

We are constantly improving our system

Since we implemented the Managed Isolation Allocation System (MIAS) we’ve made about 200 improvements to it. Some are to do with security and system performance but a lot are to do with user experience.

The new lobby process will make booking more transparent and will create a more level playing field for people trying to access the booking site.

The lobby also means we can let people know in advance when room releases are happening.

Waitlist

A waitlist is extremely complex, and would present other challenges. With the current supply and demand imbalance, most people would be waiting a very long time to get a room.

A waitlist will not make the system any more fair or equitable - it is not a silver bullet that will fix a problem that is based on supply and demand.

One of the challenges of the waitlist is it pushes the problem further up the pipeline – it would not guarantee people vouchers, it would only save their place in a queue, where demand is still significantly greater than supply. People might have thousands of people ahead of them in a queue, with little chance of securing a voucher - this is likely to be the outcome from one massive waitlist, or even a waitlist by month or date. There is also a lot of complexity in how to manage travellers who are flexible with dates and those needing specific dates.

Signing up to a waitlist - no matter how it is organised - is also based on a first-in first-served model and will penalise those who are unable to access the waitlist at the time they need to.

Making changes to bookings

Travellers can also discuss changes to bookings by emailing us at flightchanges@miq.govt.nz.

Support for those overseas

If anyone requires urgent support overseas they should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through their local Embassy or Consulate.

The Managed Isolation Allocation System(external link)

Last updated: 15 September 2021