Proposed payments for managed isolation and quarantine

The Government has announced a proposal to introduce new legislation to allow it to recover some of the costs for managed isolation and quarantine.

This information has been updated

Latest information on managed isolation charges

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill will provide a legal framework to allow the Government to only charge New Zealanders who enter temporarily, or who leave New Zealand after 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.

What the Bill will provide

The Bill will provide 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
  • no upfront payment would be required
  • there would be flexibility in how people could pay.

Check the progress of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill through Parliament (external link)

Proposed charges

The proposed charging structure for managed isolation and quarantine will be:

  • $3,100 per person in a room
  • $950 for each additional adult, and
  • $475 for each additional child sharing the room.

The system has been designed so that it is fair on arrivals and not a barrier for returning to New Zealand, especially for those who might already be experiencing financial stress. 

It is forecast that more people will be travelling and arriving at the border. The Government has set aside a total of $479 million to pay for the costs of managed isolation facilities until the end of the year.

Further details of the charging scheme, and when it will come into force, will be announced soon.

Who would be affected

Once the regulations come into force, it is proposed New Zealanders, residents and temporary visa holders will have to pay charges:

  • Any New Zealander, who either:
    • leaves New Zealand after the regulations come into force, or
    • is visiting New Zealand for less than 90 days.
  • Any temporary visa holder, unless:
    • they were ordinarily resident in New Zealand as of 19 March 2020, and
    • they departed New Zealand on or before 19 March 2020, and
    • they are not entering New Zealand on a border exception as a critical worker.

Flowchart: Proposed liability for managed isolation and quarantine charges [PDF, 216 KB]

Who would not be affected

Classes of people, such as the following, are proposed not to be liable for charges:

  • Family members travelling or isolating with people who do not have to pay charges (unless they are entering New Zealand on a border exception as a critical worker).
  • New Zealand citizens deported to New Zealand.
  • Diplomats and official government representatives.
  • Any person travelling to New Zealand to attend the sentencing of the accused in the Christchurch mosque attacks.
  • Refugees and protected persons for their first entry into New Zealand after the charges come into force.

Flowchart: Proposed liability for managed isolation and quarantine charges [PDF, 216 KB]

Examples

I’m a New Zealander hoping to return to New Zealand soon. Would I have to pay?

New Zealanders who are currently overseas (that is, who left before the regulations come into force) will not have to pay if they stay in New Zealand for 90 days or longer.

I’m a New Zealander about to go on holiday. Would I have to pay when I return?

If you leave New Zealand after the regulations come into force, it is proposed that you would have to pay for your managed isolation unless you qualify for a waiver or are otherwise exempt.

What if someone needs to come back temporarily, for example for compassionate reasons?

Anyone who needs to come home but cannot afford the charges, will still be able to come home.

It is proposed that regulations allow the chief executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment to waive charges in full or in part if they consider that undue financial hardship will be caused by the payment of the charges, or in any circumstances (which could include compassionate grounds) for which they consider a full or partial waiver appropriate.

This will allow the chief executive to take into consideration an individual’s full circumstances.

Final decisions on this will be announced soon.

How long we will have the managed isolation and quarantine system for

It is impossible to tell how the situation develops internationally and in New Zealand. Our priority is keeping New Zealand safe. The Government is working to make the system sustainable and manageable for as long as we need it and it is expected the system will be amended as appropriate.

Why self-isolation at home is not allowed

Our experience from February and March 2020, before managed isolation and quarantine was introduced, showed that compliance with self-isolation requirements by people arriving in New Zealand was patchy and could not be relied on.

Final decisions on this will be announced soon.

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