A fourth managed isolation facility for Rotorua is officially off the cards, with the Government announcing today an additional hotel will be added in Christchurch.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today other managed isolation facility options were considered in Auckland and Rotorua but were rejected primarily because of health and MIQ workforce constraints.
"I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility," Hipkins said.
With overseas Kiwis queuing to come home and too few MIQ spaces to meet the demand, the Government previously confirmed it was looking at adding facilities in Rotorua and Christchurch.
Rotorua already has MIQ facilities at the Ibis, Rydges and Sudima hotels, and residents have strongly argued the city has already done its share to help.
Those opposing the move included Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick, iwi, local MPs, Rotorua Chamber of Commerce and the Lakes District Health Board - which was concerned about stretched staffing.
Hipkins said no suitable facilities were found in Hamilton and Wellington.
He said the Government asked the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to find new facilities to help balance the reduced capacity overall.
"These include cohorting, taking hotels offline to boost their ventilation systems and the conversion of two isolation facilities for quarantine.
"We want to assure Kiwis overseas that we are doing everything we can to facilitate their safe return. The new hotel will result in 85 more rooms for returnees and brings the numbers of facilities in the network to 32.
"Before hotels are added to the network they must meet a rigorous safety, public health and staffing criteria," Hipkins said.
This includes appropriate ventilation, staff "green" zones, separate entry and exit points and CCTV capability.