The Government is reducing the amount of time MIQ guests have to pay their bills after figures showed they are owed almost $7 million in overdue fees for MIQ stays.
Figures obtained by 1 NEWS showed the Government was owed $6,907,434 in overdue invoices from MIQ guests, with $3,792,298 owed by guests who stayed at facilities last year.
A total of 13,155 invoices worth $59,519,661 have been issued for stays since August, with guests having paid a total of $36,783,765.
Currently, guests are given 90 days before an invoice becomes overdue, but Chris Hipkins told 1 NEWS the Government is reducing the time to 30 days. It will also bring in debt collectors if guests don’t pay.
Hipkins said the Government won’t be stopping people at the border if they haven’t paid.
He confirmed the changes to 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay after she questioned him on why millions of dollars of overdue fees haven’t been paid.
“I’d obviously like to get people paying faster. We get to about 25 per cent of people haven’t paid after the 90 days, which is the time in which they are due,” he said.
“Once we get through another 90 days that falls down to about four or five per cent, so we are getting the money in but it’s taking too long.”
Currently, there are $22,735,897 in unpaid invoices, with $6,907,434 of that classified as overdue.
National’s Covid-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop said “hotels don’t run honesty systems and the Government shouldn‘t run one either”.
He said the Government should be chasing people who owe money much harder.
In the last three months, $1,196,695 of the $17,025,158 worth of invoices issued was classified as overdue.