Fraser Seifert [FYI request #13353 email]
Thank you for your email of 21 July 2020 requesting, under the Official Information Act
1982 (the Act), the following information:
1. correspondence within and between the relevant Ministries and to/from your
office regarding charging for mandatory isolation
2. relevant Cabinet papers relating to this policy
3. an estimation of the cumulative hours spent developing this policy to date
4. the estimation of the cost to administer this policy including the processing of
Part 1 of your request necessitated a search for a large amount of information and is
still currently being assessed for release under the Act. I apologise for the delay in
getting the information to you and note that the correspondences in scope of your
request will be sent to you in due course.
With regard to part 2 of your request, the relevant Cabinet papers have been outlined
MBIE CAB-20-MIN-0284 A Sustainable Quarantine and Managed Isolation
MBIE CAB-20-MIN-0317 Co-payment Options for Managed Isolation and
MBIE SWC-20-MIN-0109 Establishing Fees for Managed Isolation and
MBIE 2021-0350 COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill:
Approval for Introduction
MBIE 2021-0413 COVID-19 Public Health Response (Managed Isolation
and Quarantine Charges) Regulations 2020
The cabinet paper MBIE CAB-20-MIN-0284 ‘A Sustainable Quarantine and Managed
has been proactively released on 31 July 2020 and can be found at:
The other four items are currently being prepared for
proactive release and will be made available in due course. As such your request for
copies of the relevant cabinet papers under section 18(d) of the Act as the information
is or will soon be publicly available.
Please note that some information has been, or is likely to be withheld from these
documents under the following sections of the Act:
• 9(2)(a), to protect the privacy of individuals;
9(2)(f)(iv), to maintain the constitutional conventions for the time being
which protect the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers of the
Crown and officials; or
9(2)(g)(ii), to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the
protection of such Ministers, members of organisations, officers, and
employees from improper pressure or harassment;
• 9(2)(h), to maintain legal professional privilege; or
9(2)(i), to enable a Minister of the Crown or any public service agency or
organisation holding the information to carry out, without prejudice or
disadvantage, commercial activities.
I do not consider that the withholding of this information under section 9(2) is
outweighed by public interest considerations in making the information available.
With regard to part 3 of your request, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
Employment (MBIE) is the lead agency for MIQ and develops policy for MIQ related
matters under my direction as Minister of Housing, with responsibility for MIQ.
I have been advised that MBIE does not collate information on the average number of
hours committed to developing policy for each policy analyst or manager. Policy
analysts and managers develop policy as part of their daily responsibilities, and an
estimation of the average number of hours committed to developing a specific policy
cannot be carried out with any meaningful accuracy.
Therefore this part of your request is refused under section 18(f) of the Act; that the
information requested cannot be made available without substantial collation and
I have interpreted part 4 of your request to mean an estimation of the operational cost
involved in administering the fees framework for MIQ including the processing of fee
MBIE, as the lead agency for MIQ, have set up a dedicated team to administer the
fees framework for MIQ. The responsibilities of this team include collecting information
from arrivals at MIQ to determine liability for charges, processing fee waivers for MIQ,
and invoicing those who are liable for the charges for their stay at MIQ.
The estimated monthly cost of running this team is roughly $200,000. These costs
include personnel costs with the team consisting of 21 FTEs, support costs which
include corporate overheads, specific software licensing, and an estimated proportion
of call centre costs.
Please note, you have been provided with an estimate of the monthly cost rather than
an overall figure as operations will continue to remain in place while New Zealand
maintains its MIQ requirements.
You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this
decision. Information about how to make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/
or freephone 0800 802 602.
Hon Dr Megan Woods Minister with responsibility for Managed Isolation and Quarantine