Government is bringing new legislation in parliament that will allow to impose a charge for managed isolation and quarantine, on returning Kiwis.
The government is seeking a charge of $3100 per person in a room, $950 for each additional adult and $475 for each additional child sharing the room.
Minister of Housing and in charge of managed isolation and quarantine Megan Woods said that the new legislation will be introduced in the parliament and passed next week.
However, these charges are only for Kiwis returning temporarily or are planning to leave country now for short overseas visits for work, business or leisure.
“The Bill will allow the government to charge for managed isolation and quarantine facilities. We have carefully considered how to design a system that is fair on arrivals and not a barrier for returning to New Zealand, especially for those who might already be experiencing financial stress,” Megan Woods said.
Notably, since March, more than 30,000 people completed their stay at a managed isolation facility or quarantine.
The Government has covered the costs of accommodation, food, basic laundry and airport transfers, and has committed a further NZ$418 million towards costs for the next six months.
However current forecasts indicate more money will be required by October, and to meet this need the government has come up with a new COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill that will help raise money by incurring levy on returning Kiwis and temporary visa holders who are given exception to enter New Zealand.
The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill provides a legal framework to allow the Government to set payment terms, exempt groups of people and waive charges in cases of financial hardship. It will also ensure that recovered charges do not exceed the actual costs of managed isolation and quarantine.
Will returning temporary visa holders be also charged?
All temporary visa holders who were ordinarily resident in New Zealand as of 19 March 2020, and departed New Zealand on or before 19 March 2020, and are not entering New Zealand on a border exception as a critical worker.
Currently a strict border closure is in place except NZ citizens and residents and all temporary visa holders are required to seek exceptions to enter NZ from Immigration New Zealand.
Exceptions are being granted on very strict guidelines, including humanitarian and critical worker categories.
Those temporary visa holders who are getting exception to centre NZ on the basis of being critical work will be exempt of this latest charges for managed isolation and quarantine.
So will be all Diplomats and official government representatives, any person travelling to New Zealand to attend the sentencing of the accused in the Christchurch mosque attacks, and refugees and protected persons for their first entry into New Zealand after the charges come into force.
When will charges come into force?
It is not made clear in today's announcement when the charges will come into force.
"The legislation will be passed next week before the House rises for the parliamentary term, and will enable regulations to be developed. Further details of the charging scheme and when it will come into force, will be announced soon," Megan Woods said.
Under National's announcement for quarantine charges a fortnight ago, the charges on returning Kiwis would have been started on October 3.
"Charges will not apply to anyone entering New Zealand and going into MIQ before regulations are in force," Megan Wood said.
Kiwis intending to return long-term will be charged
The government has made it clear that it intends to charge only Kiwis returning long-term, and not those who are back for short visits less than 3 months.
“As Minister I am proposing to only charge New Zealanders who enter temporarily, or who leave New Zealand after the regulations come into force. Temporary visa holders would have to pay unless they were ordinarily resident in New Zealand before the border closure, and left before the border closure," Megan Woods said.
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