News that extra defence force staff were not due to arrive until next week to help guard a Rotorua isolation hotel where a man escaped from shows the system is ''still not there''.
That's the view of Rotorua MP Todd McClay following Wednesday night's escape from Sudima Hotel.
About 50 new New Zealand Defence Force personnel for the city's managed isolation hotels were welcomed to Rotorua by pōhiri last Thursday.
Those who arrived had been working in the managed isolation facilities at the Ibis and Rydges hotels since Thursday last week, a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) spokesman said.
However, defence personnel who were set to be deployed at the Sudima Hotel had been scheduled to arrive next Thursday.
A man escaped managed isolation through a fenced area at Sudima Hotel on Wednesday night – sparking a Defence Force staff search. There had been eight security staff and a police officer on duty at the hotel at the time, MIQ said on Thursday.
Initial information was that the man exited through a door and forced his way through fencing layers.
However, it appeared he stayed close to the facility and was not in contact with any member of the public.
"The original plan was for the final contingent of NZDF assigned to Rotorua to arrive next Thursday and to be deployed at Sudima," the spokesman said yesterday.
"However, in light of Wednesday night's incident, some members of this deployment will arrive on Monday, with the remainder on Thursday."
After the escape, four additional NZDF personnel were reprioritised from other duties in Rotorua and moved to the facility, along with two additional private security guards, to ensure the safety of the returnees and community, the spokesman said.
"Managed Isolation and Quarantine [MIQ] facilities security needs are being assessed constantly to ensure the safety of returnees and the community."
But McClay said the delay in the extra personnel arriving was in his view just another example of "the Government making an announcement before following through".
The Government had "made a promise" to the people of Rotorua but had not delivered with action, he said, with a person escaping as a result.
The current isolation system was in his view "still not there", he said.
In a statement, the minister in charge of managed isolation facilities, Megan Woods, said National's statements were "disappointing".
"We said we'd roll out increases in defence force staff over six weeks and we're right on track," she said.
"Our managed isolation facilities have looked after 50,000 people so far and only had 12 people in eight incidents so far."
Te Arawa put on a pōhiri last Thursday to welcome the 50 new Defence Force personnel to the city following additional deployment nationwide.
About 480 additional Defence Force personnel were being deployed across New Zealand.
The deployment of extra personnel was part of MIQ's package of improved policies and procedures and increased staffing across all managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
Rotorua had three managed isolation facilities; the Ibis and Sudima Hotels opened in late June followed by the Rydges Hotel in late July.