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The government barely made a dent in the money owed in isolation fees managed overdue despite the intervention of debt collectors.
Newstalk ZB may reveal earlier this month that $ 38 million in MIQ fees remain unpaid, of which $ 8 million is considered past due.
This represents almost 10 percent of the total $ 100 million billed so far to those arriving from overseas.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed in May that the government was using debt collectors to chase the overdue money.
But so far, only $ 50,000 has been recovered.
National Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop said the MIQ system had been in place since August last year and the government had waited too long to try to recover these overdue funds.
“We use debt collectors for student loans, for example, and at the end of the day it’s money owed to taxpayers,” he told ZB.
“I think the government should have used debt collectors much earlier than now.”
Managed Isolation Acting Co-Head Andrew Milne said he would send more invoices to debt collectors at the end of this week.
From there, he says, he plans to continue sending “small batches every week.”
“All businesses and government agencies are facing past due debt – that’s to be expected – and we are very focused on pursuing overdue amounts.”
In May, the government confirmed that it would take a tougher line on amounts owed.
In early June, she sent 100 invoices to debt collectors to find the overdue funds.
These bills, according to Milne, were worth $ 332,000.
But of those 100, only 28 responses were received and $ 49,000 was recovered.
An additional $ 42,000 is “currently in dispute by customers”.
This means that $ 7.95 million remains outstanding.
Despite this, Milne said the vast majority of those who go through MIQ understand the need for these fees and pay their bills on time.
He said handing the bills to an outside debt collector was a serious step with potentially serious impacts on a person’s credit rating.
“So we want to be completely sure that the invoices we send for debt collection are genuine unpaid debts, so we took [the] it’s time to make sure we’re doing it right. “
Meanwhile, Newstalk ZB can also reveal that there was a significant increase in the number of MIQ invoices issued in June.
Over 6,000 invoices were sent that month, or 30% of the 23,000 invoices issued to date.
Milne said the reason for the increase was a system overhaul, which made it possible to automate the program.
“The fee scheme was being rolled out at a steady pace, and at a time when it was not clear how long it would be needed.”
He said the system relied heavily on manual processing of data from various agencies which was not always accurate or complete.
New funding has meant a new “streamlined” system, making it faster and more accurate.
But Bishop said the fact that it was only happening now was problematic because it could mean millions of dollars in fees could have been missed.
“We need to know how many people they haven’t billed to find out how much money the long-suffering poor taxpayer has missed because the government hasn’t billed properly.”
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This notice was published: 2021-07-28 17:00:50