Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March in managed isolation after visiting Mexico for 'serious personal family matter'

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March.
Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March. Photo credit: The AM Show

New Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March is finishing up two weeks in a Government-run managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility after travelling to Mexico for a family matter. 

Menéndez March was born in Mexico and was visiting the country for a "serious personal family matter", a Green Party spokesperson told Newshub on Wednesday.

The Green MP, who was elected to Parliament from the party's list in October, arrived back in New Zealand on February 1, meaning he is near the end of his mandatory two-week stay in MIQ.

The Government introduced a payment scheme for MIQ last year, meaning those who leave New Zealand after the regulations came into force on August 11, and return at a later date, must pay a fee of $3100. 

Menéndez March's decision to leave New Zealand goes against the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which encourages Kiwis to not travel overseas at all, because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We currently advise that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and widespread travel restrictions," MFAT says. 

The Green Party spokesperson said Menéndez March "followed the appropriate processes" to return to New Zealand, and the party "looks forward to seeing him" upon his return.

The Government's MIQ system has been under immense strain from the amount of New Zealanders wanting to return home but not being able to obtain a voucher needed to travel, which secures their place in MIQ. 

A recent forecast by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) - the Government department that runs the facilities - showed spaces in MIQ facilities are "extremely limited" until March. 

A MIQ spokesperson said managing the country's 32 managed isolation facilities, and the almost 5800 people staying in them, was a complex logistical exercise. 

Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.