File No. OIA0365
[FYI request #16887 email]
Thank you for your email of 25 September 2021 requesting the following under the Official
Information Act 1982 (the Act):
I would like to know how much managed isolation has so far cost the New Zealand
tax payer to date.
Is there not a cheaper alternative i.e. isolate at a property with no one entering or
leaving that property, monitored with ankle bracelets and / or security cameras.
The Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) system has played a central role in preventing
COVID-19 from entering New Zealand communities across the border. MIQ is a complex
system of accommodation facilities, personnel, information systems, and testing regimes that
enable positive COVID-19 cases to be detected early after arrival to New Zealand and to be
isolated from the community. It has allowed New Zealanders to return home during the global
pandemic in a safe and managed way. Since April 2020, over 176,000 people have passed
through MIQ, and over 1300 border cases of COVID-19 have been identified at MIQ facilities.
The MIQ costs incurred by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) from
1 July 2020 to 31 August 2021, totalled $915.91mil ion (excluding GST). This amount relates
to costs including the contracts with the hotels being used as MIQFs, transporting guests to
and from airports and facilities, security and MBIE staff employed in the MIQ Branch, whether
front-line or in MBIE’s head office in Wellington.
The MBIE costings above do not include the costs to pay other frontline agency employees’
salaries and any other assorted costs i.e. personnel employed by the relevant District Health
Boards(DHBs), the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), the New Zealand Police (Police)
and the New Zealand Aviation Security Service (Avsec). COVID-19 Response Paper 5 – Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) operating model
(CAB-20-SUB-0095) and Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) Operating
Model and Funding
(CAB-20-MIN-0511), provide details of the current MIQ operating model
and the funding allocated to MBIE,NZDF, Police, Ministry of Health, Avsec and the New
Zealand Customs Service to deliver is part of New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response. These
documents can be found at: covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources/Proactive-release-8-March-
Further information on COVID-19 Response spending by each Agency is published in the
annual report of the individual Agency. These can be found on the Agency websites.
The Government’s framework for 'Reconnecting New Zealanders to the world' was unveiled
on 12 August 2021, by the Prime Minister. This is the Government’s plan to safely re-open
our borders and develop new ways for people to travel to and from New Zealand. This
framework for travel involves an individualised risk based approach. More details can be
accessed at: www.covid19.govt.nz/reconnecting-new-zealand-to-the-world/.
As part of this plan, the Government recently announced a Self-Isolation Pilot that wil take
place between October and December this year. Self-isolation is part of the plan for re-
opening borders and allowing more people to visit and return home to New Zealand without
the requirement to enter into MIQ. Self-isolation would allow for greater freedoms for
travellers, potentially lower costs, and reduced demand for places in MIQ.
The Pilot will see 150 people, required to travel internationally for business purposes, self-
isolate on arrival in Auckland or Christchurch. The pilot wil also allow travel for a small
number of Ministers and Officials attending overseas events as New Zealand government
delegates. Numbers and locations are limited to ensure the health workforce and MIQ
systems and staff have the capacity to establish, manage and complete the pilot
Pilot participants must comply with a range of requirements in self-isolation. These
requirements will be set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and
Quarantine) Order 2020. These requirements include that participants:
Remain in their place of self-isolation for 14 days
Isolate alone, or with other participants in their travelling party
Not allow any visitors to enter the premises, aside from medical staff for testing
purposes and emergency or other authorised essential services (e.g. fire,
ambulance, Police, tradespeople for urgent repairs)
Comply with health-related requirements (e.g. testing).
Participants will also be required to comply with a monitoring regime while in self-isolation.
Officials have considered a number of compliance monitoring options. These include
electronic monitoring using wrist or ankle bracelets, electronic monitoring using app-based
technology, and conducting regular/random phone calls (with and without the use of
geolocation). The monitoring regime for the Self-Isolation Pilot is in the process of being
finalised, and wil be made public once decisions have been made.
A participant who is found to have breached self-isolation requirements must enter MIQ, at
their own cost, and they can be charged with a criminal offence that carries a penalty on
conviction of up to six months imprisonment or a fine of up to $4,000.
The Self-Isolation Pilot wil test some of the systems and processes that would be needed to
roll out self-isolation more widely. It wil be evaluated for the purpose of informing a wider
scale roll-out of self-isolation.
Further information about the Self-Isolation Pilot is available at:
Costs are not the guiding principle behind New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19
pandemic. The New Zealand government’s focus has always been on public health and
You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision.
Information about this process is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or freephone
0800 802 602.
Yours sincerely Chris Hipkins
Minister for COVID-19 Response