Covid-19: Govt rejected Auckland Airport offer of half-finished hotel as new MIQ
Stuff can reveal a discussion took place between airport representatives and the Government about the possibility of using the partially completed Hotel 4 / Mercure as an MIQ.
The Government did not take up the airport’s offer.
It is unclear when the discussion between officials and airport representatives happened.
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The Covid-19 pandemic put a temporary halt to construction of the Hotel 4, intended to be a three-star Mercure.
Contractor Naylor Love has finished the exterior of the building, which is now weathertight, but the interior fit-out is on hold.
An Auckland Airport spokeswoman confirmed in an emailed statement the discussion had taken place, but the idea went no further.
“Auckland Airport talked to the Government on one occasion about the suitability of a partially completed hotel on site (the Mercure) as a future quarantine facility,” the statement said.
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“We signalled that an agreement would need to be in place for Auckland Airport to commit to restarting construction.
“We never talked in any detail whatsoever or negotiated about what shape an agreement might take or what costs might be.”
It is unclear whether the restart of construction was dependent on the Government contract.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which oversees MIQ, was tight-lipped on the discussions but confirmed it was looking at its options for future facilities.
“[MBIE] is continuing to explore medium and long-term options for a stable, flexible and enduring future quarantine infrastructure and operating model,” a statement said.
Due to commercial sensitivities MBIE would not be naming any of the locations or sites that were being considered, or negotiations taking place, the statement said.
“Any final decision about the future model will be made by Cabinet.”