Woman desperate to say 'final goodbye' to mum in UK left heartbroken after missing out on MIQ spot

Thousands of Kiwis hoping to secure a highly sought-after spot in MIQ are disappointed in the Government's booking system.

Almost 4000 more rooms were released on Tuesday night but those desperate to book a space found themselves logging on to join an impossibly long queue.

Carol Higson was one of them. 

Her mum lives in the UK and died of Covid-19 last week. Carol had to watch her take her final breath over Facetime.

She wants to attend the funeral and grieve with her family overseas, but instead she's stuck in New Zealand - because she can't secure a MIQ spot to come home to.  

"It's awful to be here, on the other side of the world, and just watch my mum deteriorate. It was really bad," Carol told Newshub. 

"I just want to go hug and see my mum, for closure, and say my final goodbye. I had to just watch her die and it was awful."

She's eligible for an emergency allocation spot in MIQ under category 3b, New Zealand citizens are able to travel to another country where a close relative died and are able to return home.

But her application was turned down.

In their response, the Emergency Allocations Team said: "Unfortunately, we are not able to process your application as you do not intend to arrive [back] in New Zealand within 14 days. We cannot process applications which are received outside this timeframe."

But if Carol was to comply with that timeframe, she would have to return to New Zealand before the date of the funeral, which is set down for the second week of October. 

Her daughter Chloe Higson says it has been an extremely stressful time for her mother and her family. 

"She just couldn't stop crying, she was like nearly screaming because it was so stressful, trying to figure out everything to do."

Carol was then told to try the MIQ room lottery where 3,800 rooms were up for grabs Tuesday night. 

The Prime Minister admits that isn't enough. 

"There are significantly more New Zealanders trying to come home, particularly as we near the end of the year than there are places available," Jacinda Ardern said. 

Tens of thousands of desperate Kiwis fought to get a spot, but most missed out. Carol was one of them.

She was number 23,196 in the queue out of 31,319 in total, with rooms released all gone within two hours and ten minutes. 

"It's really stressful, traumatic and it's affected me mentally and physically as well," she says. "I feel so alone, it's just so distressing."

She's now running out of time to make it to the UK to say her final farewell.

"I just wish there was an easier way because it has been so stressful, it has. Especially losing my mum and not being able to grieve, because I'm thinking about this."

"I want to be there for my family. I want closure and to see my mother for the last time."