COVID-19: Kiwi dad concerned over new charges for managed isolation

A Kiwi dad whose daughters in Australia frequently visit him in New Zealand is concerned the Government's new rules charging some people for managed isolation will stop him being able to see them. 

It was announced on Wednesday that Kiwis returning home to live won't be charged for their 14-day stay, and only a narrow group will be liable for these costs. They include people returning temporarily and not facing financial hardship, and Kiwis who decide to leave for a business trip or holiday for fewer than 90 days.

Dad Chris Wilson is usually visited by his two daughters every school holiday, but now it's been six months since he's seen them.

He was waiting for the longer summer holidays to see his girls, but now he's worried the isolation charges will get in the way.

"I'm going to have to break it to them that that's not doable and it's looking like another six months, so a year apart from your kids," he said.

"It makes you pretty sad."

The Government will charge $3100 for an adult. It's $950 for additional adults and $475 for additional children. There will be exemptions on compassionate grounds for the likes of funerals.

Minister in charge of managed isolation Megan Woods said the amount of revenue collected "won't be huge". The scheme is expected to earn just $10 million of the $479 million put aside for managed isolation.

National leader Judith Collins said the revenue expected to be earned back is "a total failure" and the Government "should be ashamed of themselves".

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters echoed National. He backed the legislation but called for charges for all who come through managed isolation.

"They know not having contributed to the tax of this country for the past five, 10, 30 years means there's a cost to them," he says.

But the Green Party is totally opposed, co-leader James Shaw said. 

"A fee for people who had already left the country was really unfair."

The legislation will be rushed through Parliament before the House rises for the election campaign next week.