Officials are considering letting Climate Change Minister James Shaw self-isolate at home when he gets back from an international conference.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has poured cold water on the idea, meaning Shaw's delegation will take up precious scarce managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) rooms.
The COVID-19 chaos hasn't cooled the climate change crisis and world leaders will jet across the globe in November to discuss it for COP26, which is being held in Glasgow, Scotland.
Among them will be a reluctant Shaw, co-leader of the Greens.
"Glasgow in winter, who needs that?" he says.
ACT leader David Seymour has been critical of Shaw travelling across the globe for a conference when he deemed it too risky for Parliament to meet in-person.
"When he's fighting climate change he's James Offshore," Seymour says.
Shaw refused an interview with Newshub on Tuesday but said last week Zooming into COP26 wasn't an option. The UK ruled it out because negotiations are too complex. So, if New Zealand wants to be at the climate change table, someone has to go.
"I would prefer not to go, to tell you the honest truth. If I thought I had some ability to influence that, then I would, but I don't," Shaw said.
Seymour says Shaw is a hypocrite.
"Here's a guy who said it was life-threatening for people to fly from Auckland to Wellington and sit in Parliament. He now wants to fly into the second-biggest COVID hotspot in Europe, come back, and take up an MIQ space that could've been for a critical care nurse, for example."
Shaw's office sent invitations to Opposition climate spokespeople, saying travel was dependent on MIQ place, acknowledging the extreme pressure on the system. He urged them to create profiles to book MIQ spots anyway.
But there was another plan. Foreign affairs were exploring whether the delegation could be included in the Government's self-isolation trial later this year.
"One of the issues with the COP delegation is whether or not they would fit within the time period set for that trial," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, meaning Shaw and his delegation will use the MIQ rooms so many Kiwis are desperate for.
It's a blow for Thomas Goodman, whose Camp America visa has expired and he's verging on overstaying, running out of money and crashing on couches.
"It's very demoralising and I feel like my Government just doesn't care about me," he told Newshub.
Goodman wants to self-isolate with his mum, but he doesn't have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade going in to bat for him.
"If I'm not out by that 30 days then repercussions will start taking effect."
The problem is that MIQ is so broken there is no good option for Shaw. If he gets to self-isolate, it looks like special treatment, but if he snags an MIQ spot, he may be taking it from a Kiwi desperate to get home to their family.