Nearly half of self-isolation pilot spots went to waste, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern initially unaware James Shaw got one

Travelling Kiwis are still battling for the right to isolate at home despite richlister Murray Bolton winning a High Court case to do so. 

And Newshub can reveal almost half the spots in the self-isolation business pilot went to waste, except for Climate Change Minister James Shaw's.

Kiwi stuntman Tim Wong gets beaten up for a living, but it was nothing on the stunt needed to get back home.

"I wasn't going to Australia for a holiday - I was going because I needed to to get back to work," he says.

He lost seven MIQ lotteries and wasn't eligible for the home isolation pilot.

Richlister Murray Bolton - who won a landmark case against MIQ - ended up funding Wong's legal fight to isolate at home, and they won.

"Most people have to grin and bear it and just get frustrated and suffer," Wong says.

One person who did manage to get into the self-isolation pilot was Government Minister James Shaw.

"The reason I opted to take the self-isolation pilot was in order to free up a space in MIQ because you may remember there was quite a concerted campaign in September against me taking up an MIQ spot," he says. 

Information obtained by Newshub shows despite there being 150 spots Shaw was one of only 79 people who were part of the pilot.

"There were all sorts of rules, all sorts of regulations," National's COVID-19 Response Chris Bishop says. "I think a lot of people just looked at it and said, 'Frankly that's just way too hard'."

Newshub can reveal Shaw was approved to be included in the isolation pilot by COVID Response Minister Chris Hipkins - who was given unilateral power to sign off applications. Hipkins said in a statement Shaw applied and met the conditions.

But even the Prime Minister didn’t even know Shaw was involved.

In response to a Parliamentary written question, Jacinda Ardern said she only became aware when she had a zoom meeting with Minister Shaw during his self-isolation period.

"I just find it staggering that Chris Hipkins didn't tell the Prime Minister, James Shaw didn't tell the Prime Minister," Bishop says.

Which is telling in itself.