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Government announces it will start charging for managed isolation at midnight

The Government has announced the start date of managed isolation charges.

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National wants all returnees to contribute to their hotel stay while the Government's plan means a small number will have to pay. Source: 1 NEWS

Charges for returnees will come into force from 12.01am tomorrow, after they passed their last Cabinet milestone today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said.

“The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine system, while recovering some of the costs from those who choose to leave and enter the country on holidays or business trips,” Ms Woods said.

“Anyone who needs to come home but cannot afford the charges will still be able to come home. Exemptions are available for certain groups of people and waivers from charges are possible on a case-by-case basis for undue financial hardship and in special circumstances (such as compassionate grounds).

“New Zealand citizens and residents currently overseas are not liable for charges if they are returning home permanently. Temporary visa holders who were ordinarily resident in New Zealand before our border was closed on 19 March, are not be liable for a charge on their return if they were out of the country on 19 March (unless they are a critical worker).

“New Zealanders who come home temporarily (for less than 90 days) and those who go overseas after regulations come into force and return at a later date, will be charged for managed isolation and quarantine, unless they are exempt or are granted a waiver from payment.

“The charges cover less than half of the average total costs for managed isolation and quarantine. For a single person in a room, the charge is $3100. Additional adults or children sharing that room will be charged $950 and $475 respectively and including GST.

“This charging system makes an important contribution to our public health response to Covid-19. An integral part of our public health response is the requirement that people arriving in the country go into managed isolation or quarantine for at least 14 days," she said this evening.

Source: 1 NEWS

It comes after the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll showed the Government is out-of-step with Kiwis when it comes to charging people for managed isolation.

The National Party wants everyone to make a contribution to their hotel stay, however the Government is only charging those who are in New Zealand and choose to go or are coming home for a holiday.

Two weeks ago, the Government announced that those flying home who stay for less than three months will have to pay $3100 per person to self-isolate.

The same cost also applies to anyone who is in New Zealand and plans to leave for a holiday overseas or a business trip.

However, in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, people were asked whether they support having returning New Zealanders "contribute towards the cost of their stay in managed isolation".

The poll saw a clear distinction of support for the proposal, with three-quarters of those saying yes, they should pay, while 21 per cent were opposed to the idea.

The rest said they didn't know or refused to answer the question.

However, the Prime Minister says their plans aren't out of step with the public's opinion.

"I would agree with the public's view that we should be charging, which is why we are. What we have had to decide is who we charge," Jacinda Ardern said.

National has other plans, wanting to charge all those who return from overseas, calling the decision to front the cost a "slap in the face" for taxpayers.

"That's just an utter slap in the face for Kiwis who have been here paying taxes and working hard," party leader Judith Collins said.

The Prime Minister denies that they're taking a "soft approach" despite the Government's plan hardly scraping the surface of the nearly $500 million cost of managed isolation and counting.

"I wouldn't call it that. We are seeking a financial contribution to quarantine. The people we've targeted are the people making a choice, mostly for instance a holiday reason," explained the Prime Minister.