MIQ shortage: Kiwi stranded in UK says if it wasn't for family in NZ, she'd never come back

A Kiwi who was planning to come home to join her wife and family in New Zealand has been left stranded in London after missing out on a spot in MIQ during Monday's release of 3000 spots.

Tens of thousands of people attempted to book spots in managed isolation allowing them to be back in New Zealand for Christmas with only 3000 rooms available.

Lisa moved to the UK in 2016 for her big OE, spending time living and working in London.

In November 2020, Lisa's wife had to return to New Zealand. Her visa was expiring and her father had been diagnosed with cancer.

"I've been waiting to come home to my wife, family and friends since June," Lisa told Newshub from London.

"The original plan was that my wife was going to come back to the UK and stay while I keep working and saving, then we would go back to New Zealand together around October. As travel restrictions changed and we didn't have enough money for the flights and her paid hotel quarantine, we cancelled that plan and I booked my ticket back to New Zealand in July to arrive on October 1."

Lisa said she found out in July that all MIQ rooms were unavailable until December. She said the only advice she was given was to "keep refreshing the page" until a room became available.

"So I spent months refreshing every chance I got and also making my Mum and my wife refresh while I was asleep in London, still we had no luck."

Lisa describes the improved booking system, which uses a lottery-like allocation system, as "confusing and heartbreaking".

"My wife did it on her computer for me because the website wasn't working on my laptop," she said.

Lisa said she nearly cried when her wife told her they were in the lobby, but were number 20,942 in the queue.

"It was so painful being told, play by play," she said.

"Oh we're now 20,800 in the queue! While we tried for the next few hours, we both knew that there were only 3000 rooms available.

"I am not at all good with computers or programming, but even I can see this MIQ site looks like whoever made it has a very vague understanding of how to build a functional website or maybe it is just not a priority on the Government's list at the moment, so have hired people to do a half arse job.

"If my wife wasn't in New Zealand I'd say f**k it, I'm moving to a Scandi country where they have governments that care about their people and they have great taste in homeware." 

The New Zealand Government has confirmed more rooms will be released over the coming months.