Kiwi fashion blogger and socialite Jaime Ridge is calling out New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine system (MIQ), saying it's being run by a "bunch of muppets" in a social media post aimed at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
On Saturday Ridge voiced her frustration at the MIQ system to her 51,000 followers on her Instagram account, according to the NZ Herald.
"How the hell do you get a spot in MIQ?" Ridge wrote in an Instagram story.
"Number 9000 in the 'queue' yesterday and I'm just absolutely baffled. The flights are booked and have been for weeks, then the govt changed the rules (again).
"Who is running this show? A complete lack of competence.
"Just a bunch of muppets."
Ridge then went on to mention Ardern in the story.
"@jacindaardern your lack of compassion for those people abroad is mind-boggling," Ridge said. "You need to learn to practice what you preach."
Ridge, the daughter of Kiwi television personality and real estate agent Sally Ridge, is currently in Los Angeles. In another Instagram story, Ridge said she had received hundreds of messages from her Kiwi followers in similar situations overseas trying to get back home.
"I'm so sorry you're going through what we are," Ridge said. "It's horrible, isolating and completely unconstitutional. And made worse by people weighing in who absolutely cannot relate to what we are going through."
Newshub has contacted the Beehive for comment.
A MIQ spokesperson said it understands world travel is currently difficult and "acknowledges that there are many people in really difficult situations as a result of this global pandemic.
"Since New Zealand took the unprecedented step to close its borders, the Government has been balancing the public health needs of New Zealand by stopping COVID-19 at the border and addressing the ability for New Zealanders to come home," the spokesperson told Newshub.
"MIQ has served New Zealand well, helping to bring more than 210,000 people home safely. We want to be able to bring everyone home who wants to return, but we have to do that in a safe, managed way - especially given the emergence of the Omicron variant across the world."
The MIQ booking system has received a lot of criticism, with the Chief Ombudsman launching an investigation into it after hundreds of complaints from people having difficulties with getting vouchers for spots.
According to its website, MIQ released its 13th set of vouchers on Thursday where there were 10,995 people in the queue in total, representing 16,617 passengers.