New award recognises MIQ staff

Prime Minister

The Government is establishing an award to recognise people who have contributed to New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, with MIQ staff to be the first recipients, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

“The award provides a formal opportunity to acknowledge those who have played a critical role in our COVID-19 response,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Our MIQ workforce has demonstrated care and professionalism, often at considerable personal risk and sacrifice and are worthy recipients of this award and our gratitude. 

“MIQ workers have welcomed home over 230,000 Kiwis and supported more than 4,400 people from within our community who have had Covid-19. They have been a core part of our wall of defence against COVID-19.

“It’s easy to hear the word MIQ and immediately associate it with heartache. There is no question, that for New Zealand it has been one of the hardest parts of the pandemic. But the staff who worked in the facilities did so selflessly and deserve our thanks.

“MIQ staff have been at the front line of COVID-19 from the start. Prior to the vaccine they had no way to protect themselves from the virus other than PPE.

“Working in MIQ often meant giving up on normal lives to protect others. I’ve heard stories of staff being ostracised through fear of infection and isolating and changing their normal routines to reduce the risk of passing on the virus to others. 

“I can’t imagine the burden they have carried and this recognition is the least we can do to thank them for their service and sacrifice.

“The award will take the form of a lapel pin. Officials are working on design, eligibility and criteria with further details to come as the work progresses.

“This award to the MIQ workforce is the first to be announced. Recognition will be extended to other groups who have contributed to New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, with further announcements to be made in due course.

“Our COVID-19 response has and continues to be a true team effort that is not over, but the Government wants to ensure those on the frontline get the recognition they deserve for what they helped achieve,” Jacinda Ardern said.