The government warned of public opposition

By Katie Todd, RNZ

Documents provided by RNZ show that government ministers are seeking a custom-made sports isolation hotel while returnees are competing with international athletes for the coveted location of MIQ. ..

The idea was shot down in February by officials who considered options in Queenstown, then Rotorua and Wellington, each finding a risk of resource shortages and public backlash.

International athletes can enter the country using border exemptions for important workers, but the upcoming tournament show code document for August 2020 was well aware of the space used in MIQ. ..

Cricket in New Zealand mentioned a potential “invasion” of public resources, and officials spoke of “the perception that sports teams are kicking out New Zealanders.”

Prior to the Women’s Rugby World Cup, Covid-19’s Corresponding Minister Chris Hipkins and Sports Minister Grant Robertson asked the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for a cost estimate for Queen’s Town’s exclusive sports MIQ.

Officials reported in February, explaining that it would be difficult.

“MBIE made a scoping visit to Queenstown last August to consider the possibility of establishing a sports base. [isolation facility].. The visit confirmed that the two hotels may meet MIF requirements, “explained James Johnson, MIQ’s Assignment and Supply Policy Manager.

“Health resources in the Queenstown area are limited, there are labor constraints, and there are practical considerations that make Queenstown an inappropriate place.”

Authorities said Queenstown does not have a tertiary care facility and medical staff will need to be brought in from Dunedin and Invercargill-at a considerable cost.

There was also a “serious” shortage of security guards in the district, and adequate training facilities were not available.

Authorities estimate that the hotel will cost at least $ 776,000 to set up and $ 4.2 million per month to operate, and does not include health staff and police costs.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Vault said he was disappointed that the idea was abandoned. He talked to officials and felt that it could have boosted the local economy and morale.

“It would have brought people staying in the district. Obviously some activities for restaurants and accommodation, and the possibility of playing games in the district would have brought visitors,” said Vault. I did.

In February, the Minister asked MBIE to perform a similar cost analysis for sports MIQ hotels in Rotorua and Wellington. Access to healthcare professionals and sports facilities has improved in Rotorua and Wellington.

MBIE has found that it can be done for $ 3.1 million to $ 3.6 million per month, but has highlighted other challenges.

In a briefing to the Minister, he warned that “inbound sports teams often present complex needs for their stay,” citing ice baths, indoor exercise equipment, and additional health and safety measures.

“But adding a dedicated facility just to deal with inbound sports teams can cause a negative reaction from the general public due to the recognition of incentives.”

Authorities said these complex needs would put a greater burden on hotel staff than regular MIQ, and other sectors such as construction and education could begin to seek dedicated MIQ facilities. I warned you.

A MIQ spokesman told RNZ that the idea of ​​a sports isolation hotel eventually “did not progress.”

Instead, 448 rugby, cricket, and netball players from 13 teams will be housed in regular MIQ (Christchurch Park Chateau) and given a training exemption from the Director of Health to visit nearby sports grounds. I did.

“These training facilities operate under Level 4 restrictions, but are used only for training purposes for a period of time each day and only for the entire exemption period by the relevant sports team. This exemption period is always MIQ. After staying and the team met the required criteria, including two negative tests. “

Some cricketers used Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln and netballers trained at the Celebration Stadium, but the Pakistani men’s cricket team’s training exemption received 10 Covid-19 positive results. Was stopped.

Seven other athletes from other teams (1 in October, 2 in February, 5 in January) also tested positive during their stay.

The ministry said sports teams or athletes who were not granted training exemptions were placed in the same MIQ hotel as other arrival cohorts.

“For example, athletes and athletes returning from the Tokyo Olympics were housed in multiple facilities, depending on the date of arrival and the city of arrival.”

The government warned of public opposition

Source link The government warned of public opposition

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