Kiwi fashion blogger and socialite Jaime Ridge has hit out at Jacinda Ardern and the Government over what she describes as the "completely unconstitutional" MIQ system after missing out on a room while stuck in the US.
The daughter of Kiwi television personality and real estate agent Sally Ridge says she has been contacted by hundreds of her followers who are also unable to get back into New Zealand due to the ongoing MIQ system.
"How the hell do you get a spot in MIQ?" Ridge wrote in an Instagram story.
"Number 9000 in the 'queue' yesterday and I'm just absolutely baffled. The flights are booked and have been for weeks, then the govt changed the rules (again) ... Who is running this show. A complete lack of competence. Just a bunch of muppets.
"@jacindaardern your lack of compassion for those people abroad is mind boggling. You need to learn to practice what you preach."
Based off her Instagram account, Jaime Ridge is in Los Angeles at the moment with her fiance Tommy Bates - who works for social media company Snapchat.
Some of Ridge's most recent posts show her visiting and dining in LA museums and Palm Springs resort spas.
Ridge currently runs the fashion blog Jaime Dillon Ridge and has 51,000 followers on Instagram.
In 2012, Ridge and her mother Sally starred in their own six-part reality television show The Ridges on TV3.
In today's frustrated Instagram post, Ridge also expressed her sympathy to the hundreds of her Kiwi followers in the same situation overseas who had reached out to her.
"I have hundreds of messages from you all, and I'm so sorry you're going through what we are. It's horrible, isolating and completely unconstitutional. And made worse by people weighing in who absolutely cannot relate to what we are going through. But know you're not alone and you're in my thoughts!
"I'm also sorry I don't have the time to respond to each and every one of you, but know I'm thinking of you all and sharing your tears. Sending love x"
Interest in MIQ lottery triples, but most lose out
In recent days the Government has come under further criticism over the MIQ system which is still in operation until at least late February.
The latest MIQ room release on January 6 saw only a 12 per cent success rate for the 10,995 people who had been in the room release lottery queue.
The Government had said they would be ending MIQ for New Zealand citizens and residents in Australia on January 17.
But on December 21, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins reneged on that date due to the spread of the Omicron variant around the world - extending MIQ's operation for everyone entering NZ until at least late February.
Acting deputy secretary of managed isolation and quarantine Andrew Milne acknowledged the frustration of Kiwis around the globe who had missed out on the January 6 room release.
None of those who snapped up the 1250 MIQ rooms released are from Australia.
"Given the complexity of managing the Omicron and Delta variants, MIQ needs to closely monitor our operating capacity. For this reason, today's [January 6] lobby was smaller than usual and focused on March and April," Milne said.
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 January 6 after the Omicron outbreak in many other parts of the world prompted the Government to scrap its self-isolation component for new arrivals.
"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".