At midnight Monday, Liz Spence heard her husband shout a loud “yes! across the house and knew he had finally deciphered the Managed Isolation System (MIQ).
In an adrenaline rush, her body shaking, she called her British parents and they booked flights to arrive in Auckland on August 17th. They will return to Scotland in February.
“It’s a huge weight on our shoulders, just knowing that we have that 100% support all the time. It’s awesome, fantastic,” she said.
Liz and Kyle Spence had just learned that their third baby, due in November, has a heart defect and will need major surgery when Kyle fell about 10 feet from a roof and suffered a severe concussion cerebral.
The baby’s condition and Kyle’s fall were the latest in a series of challenges the family has faced since moving to New Zealand, including being diagnosed with cancer for their eldest son a few years ago and Liz the victim. of a mini-stroke last year.
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The couple desperately wanted Liz’s parents to steal for them and their two other children before, during and after the birth and the surgeries, but could not get a room at MIQ until the end of November, after the birth of their child. baby.
They kept trying an earlier date, spending 40 hours refreshing the page but couldn’t get a room – until Monday’s breakthrough.
Obtaining an MIQ room during border closures has become extremely difficult for many Kiwis and visa holders.
The experience had a huge impact on the family, said Liz Spence.
“When you’re already going through a stressful time and you feel like there’s no empathy at all… it was really, really upsetting.”
She said any attempt to talk to someone about her case met with generic responses that only increased the stress.
A request from her parents for the emergency allowance category of “the safety and well-being of a child” was denied, although the family submitted a letter of support from Liz’s health specialist.
The family complained and asked what more they could do to reach the super high threshold.
In an email, they were told they needed more evidence to say the child’s life was in danger, such as a court order or a letter from the police or social services.
Spence said they felt they didn’t fit into any of the categories and the system was down.
At a press conference last week, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said some people who spoke to the media about MIQ issues had not provided enough evidence to support their request.
“Give us absolutely all the information you can, because the more complete your application, the more likely it is to be approved. “
Joint MIQ official Megan Main said she was confident the staff were providing enough information to people like the Spence family.
“We make it clear on the website and on the online form what people need to provide and we have continued to improve that. ”
Some 350 rooms had been reserved for the fortnightly emergency allowance program, but were only available as a last resort for those who needed to travel urgently, the joint head of MIQ said earlier on. Brigadier Rose King.
The 350 rooms were “a limit, not a target”.
From June 14 to July 12, the government received 931 requests for MIQ room under the emergency allowance. Of these, 174 (18%) were approved.