Some New Zealanders coming home to visit dying loved ones will only spend three days in isolation

Newshub can reveal some Kiwis overseas wanting to come home to visit dying loved ones now only need to isolate for three days rather than 14.

But it only applies to people coming from very low-risk countries - basically just the Pacific and Antarctica.

Sasha Holden's dad - Beardie - always bought the first round and spun the best yarns.

"Everybody loved my dad," Sasha says.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last month and Sasha rushed from Jersey, in the UK, to be by his side. Her room's just across the park from his hospital.

"What did he think about me not getting there?" she asks.

She tried to leave MIQ immediately but was rejected. Then her mum called - Beardie had died.

"I would absolutely have loved to have been there for him - to have just held his hand, to be with him and tell him it's all going to be okay," Sasha says.

In the same week, officials changed how they decide who can get out early.

"It was updated last week because of signals that had been given about the shortening of MIQ stays," Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay explains.

The new tool - obtained exclusively by Newshub - means you can leave after three days but only if you come from a low-risk country.

"The system, excluding the Pacific, basically treats anyone north of Antarctica as being high-risk for COVID," Aidan Cameron says.

If you're coming from a high-risk country - like Australia or the UK - you could get out after seven days. But in just over a week that will be the same as every other returnee - the Government has shortened all stays to seven days.

"In a world where increasingly people are double vaccinated, it just doesn't make sense to me," Cameron says.

To get an early or temporary release, you also have to:

  • only be out of isolation for three hours max
  • have transport sorted
  • use PPE
  • be fully vaccinated and
  •  only come into contact with two people max

"That exemption process allows us to get that balance," Dr McElnay says.

Balance isn't enough for National leader Judith Collins. She wants to undo MIQ and let the double-vaxxed do home isolation.

"The Prime Minister needs to come and put an end to this MIQ lottery of misery," she says.

All Sasha wants is a system with some kindness.

"There's no humanity or flexibility to the way it's administered on the ground."

With richlister Murray Bolton winning his court case to isolate at home, and more than 700 community cases doing the same, it's getting harder by the day for the Government to justify MIQ.