Coronavirus: Just third of MIQ guests paid for stay, $20m outstanding

More than $3m is overdue.
More than $3m is overdue. Photo credit: Getty.

Just a third of managed isolation guests have paid for their stay, with more than $20 million still outstanding, according to new figures.

Kiwis travelling overseas and returning within 90 days as well as any non-New Zealand residents entering the country are required to pay $3100 for their two-week stay in our managed isolation facilities. That will be increased to $5520 in late March for those coming to Aotearoa on temporary visas.

However, new Government figures show that only a third of guests invoiced for their stay have so far paid up. 

The data, accurate to March 7, shows 9078 invoices have been sent out billing guests a total of $32,520,801. However, just 3520 invoices have been paid, totalling $11,735,384. That means more than $20 million remains outstanding.

A MIQ spokesperson said invoices are due to be paid within 90 days of the date of their invoice, meaning some guests still have time to pay. A total of 956 invoices are overdue with a value of $3,257,115. 

"Managed Isolation and Quarantine sends a reminder 30 days before the due date to remind returnees about the invoice including details of how to pay, how to apply for an instalment plan, and what to do if the person considers they are not liable or are exempt," the spokesperson said.

"After the due date a further letter will be sent requesting payment. This letter will also contain details about how to apply for an instalment plan."

If an individual doesn't pay, MIQ has options such as to engage a debt collection agency or initiate court actions. 

"This decision will be made applying a consistent set of factors and would only occur after 180 days from when the invoice was issued," the spokesperson said. 

"As of last week, no one has been referred to debt collection as the first unpaid invoices have only come up for consideration to be sent to debt collection (i.e. reaching 180 days overdue) at the end of February.

"The regulations in their current form do not empower us to stop people leaving the country if they have not paid their MIQ charges."