Green MP's MIQ application one of 'only a handful' escalated to MBIE boss

Green MP Ricardo Menendez-March's emergency application for an MIQ room was one of "only a couple" that were escalated to MBIE's chief executive, a select committee has learned. 

Green MP Ricardo Menendez-March. Source: 1 NEWS

Menendez-March applied twice for a room after travelling to Mexico to see sick family members over summer. 

The first time he applied as someone who provided a “critical public or health service” and the second time as someone who was required for “national security” or “national interest” reasons.

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The Green MP went to Mexico to care for sick parents, and also travelled with his partner back to New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Top officials at MBIE, which runs the MIQ system, answered questions from MPs this morning. 

Chief executive Carolyn Tremain said Mendendez-March's application was one of "only a couple" that had been elevated to her attention. 

"The basis was that applicant said there was a national interest dimension, the team felt unable to assess it and felt there might have been information I wasn't aware of," Tremain said. 

The case of Kiwi Trevor Ponting, who is dying of brain cancer, was not escalated to the chief executive's attention. 

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The Covid-19 Response Minister says Trevor Ponting should’ve been given a place on compassionate grounds. Source: 1 NEWS

National Party covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop said there was special treatment for the MP, given there are thousands of applications for emergency allocations.

"There was absolutely special treatment," he said. 

"I think most New Zealanders would find that pretty galling."

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Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March turned down for special exemption for MIQ place

Tremain said there wasn't special treatment because Menendez-March's emergency applications were rejected.