With the numbers clamouring to travel showing no sign of abating the Government has appointed a London-based general agent whose sole job it is to supervise the whole process from beginning to end.

Having first passed a qualifying medical check, those accepted for travel will first be housed in purpose-built pre-departure facilities, or other accommodation specially licenced for the purpose, to await their travel day.  At which point, and before they board their transport, travellers must pass another health check, failing which travel will be refused. 

Upon arrival in New Zealand more health checks will be conducted and those new arrivals requiring quarantine will be housed in purpose built facilities adjacent to the point of disembarkation, before being cleared for release into the general community.

Properly administered these protocols should go a long way to alleviating the pressure on MIQ facilities here in New Zealand, and so accelerate the return of Kiwis to their homeland.

But the fact is, few if any of the protocols outlined in those first three paragraphs apply in today’s global Covid pandemic, but are a verbatim reporting of the rules which governed the immigration of New Zealand’s first settlers, laid down by Julius Vogel in the 1870s. *

And you might think that, with all the health and safety advances that have been made in the intervening 150 years, we should be able to establish something at least as comprehensive, to effectively and safely accommodate those clamouring to come home now.

If, for instance, our Victorian ancestors could organise off-shore facilities in which to quarantine those seeking passage, why can’t we do something similar and relieve the pressure on our on-shore MIQ  arrangements, and that of the terrible lottery process people have to endure?

Buggered if I know.


  • Reference: Vogel and the Immigrants, Chapter 10 “The Immigrants” by Tony Potter, Godwith Publishing 1997, 






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