Nearly 11,000 people queued online this afternoon for MIQ spots but most left disappointed.
None of those who snapped up the 1250 rooms are from Australia.
Today's lottery - the busiest since November, as officials grapple with how to address the threat of a Covid-19 Omicron variant outbreak - attracted three times as much interest as the previous one on December 16.
After the lottery concluded, acting deputy secretary of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Andrew Milne acknowledged the frustration.
"Given the complexity of managing the Omicron and Delta variants, MIQ needs to closely monitor our operating capacity," he said. "For this reason, today's lobby was smaller than usual and focused on March and April."
Unsurprisingly, given the interest, the available rooms were allocated in less than an hour.
The 10,995 people in the queue were doing so behalf of 16,617 total applicants.
Of them, 1190 people secured room vouchers for themselves and others, allowing for 1810 people to arrive in New Zealand. It was a success rate of 12 per cent of those who joined the queue.
The arrivals will be from 76 countries, MIQ officials said.
The MIQ room release was previously scheduled for two days before Christmas but it was postponed until today after the Omicron outbreak in many other parts of the world prompted the Government to scrap its self-isolation component for new arrivals.
The self-isolation scheme received criticism after the nation's first community Omicron exposure was caused by Rhythm and Alps performer DJ Dimension, who failed to correctly follow self-isolation rules and visited Auckland's CBD before realising he had tested positive.
New arrivals are now staying at MIQ facilities for 10 days, whereas previously the requirement was seven days in MIQ followed by several days of self-isolation.
"The move to a 10-day MIQ stay has resulted in a reduction in overall MIQ capacity," Milne said. "Due to this, the additional groups that need to be accommodated, and the work MIQ is doing to facilitate the return of some Australian travellers, we are unlikely to release any more vouchers for January or February."
He urged anyone with a voucher they are no longer intending or able to use to cancel it so the room can go back into the pool.
The rise of the highly infectious Omicron variant in many other parts of the globe, including Australia, has also resulted in the Government delaying plans for a self-isolation pathway from Australia, which had been set to begin January 16.
"Currently, airlines do not have any red flights scheduled from Australia for March or April," Milne explained. "As a result, red flights are also not available in the MIQ flight checker, which is the tool travellers use to link a voucher for MIQ.
"This means that people intending to travel from Australia in March or April will not have been able to secure vouchers that will link to an existing, eligible flight."
He said MIQ is working with airlines and with government agencies "in relation to the delayed border opening and possible flight schedules".
Addressing the Australia issue yesterday, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment indicated that there will be more MIQ rooms available for March and April that will be released at a future date.
The next voucher release is set for January 20, but officials haven't yet released details of what it will entail.
Before the Omicron scare, the Government's three-phase plan to reopen the country's international borders was set to begin this month. The first stage was to allow fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers to travel from Australia and self-isolate at home for seven days instead of going through MIQ.
Phase 2 would allow fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers from all other countries to travel to New Zealand with self-isolation instead of MIQ. It had previously been planned to begin on February 13.
The delay, officials said, is to allow more time for New Zealanders to receive a booster dose of the Covid vaccination. Three doses are believed to provide better protection against Omicron.