Kiwis stranded in Australia losing hope after being locked out of MIQ room release

Kiwis stranded in Australia have been locked out of the latest managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) room release. 

Taylor Kean and her daughter have been trying to get home to their family in New Zealand since October.

"I'm going to get a bit emotional… I'm heartbroken to say the least, really," she said.

The Government announced that Kiwis in Australia weren't allowed in the MIQ room release on Wednesday night due to a lack of flights being provided by airlines.

"It's just hard not knowing when we're going to be able to see our son," Kean said.

Rikki Sands and his family are also stuck in Australia.

"It's like you're disowned. You have no hope," he said. "It's just heartbreaking for my family and I; just mental health-wise it's not good."

National Party COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says he's heard from a number of people who are upset.

"I've just been inundated in the last 12 hours or so since the news broke that Kiwis in Australia wouldn't be able to enter the lottery; I've had emails, texts, Facebook messages and phone calls." 

Under the Government's border reopening plan, Kiwis from Australia were going to be allowed to self-isolate from January. But because of Omicron, that's been delayed to the end of February.

However some lucky Kiwis did manage to get on a new flight and into MIQ. 

"I couldn't get to sleep until 2 o'clock in morning - I just couldn't believe it!" said Kiwi Pauline Osmond.

For thousands of others like Dave Thorn, they waited in a virtual lobby, then spent hours in a virtual queue hoping to get one of the 1250 MIQ rooms available. 

Thorn's fears he'd miss out were later confirmed.

The Government says the move to 10 days in MIQ has reduced its capacity and that it's working to get people home who were caught up in the changes. The next MIQ room release is on January 20.  

"The Government has really just dropped the ball here," Bishop says.

The Government is being taken on in Wellington's High Court this month by the Grounded Kiwis group, alleging there's been a violation of Section 18 of the Bill of Rights Act.

"What Grounded Kiwis have been advocating from the beginning is fairness in the MIQ booking system," says group spokesperson Martin Newell.

A fairness they say doesn't exist.