Call me: Several soldiers reprimanded after MIQ incidents

Several Defence Force soldiers have been reprimanded with one even being charged after inappropriate conduct while working at the country’s managed isolation facilities.

One soldier showed an “explicit image” to a civilian guard,another gave his personal phone number to a returnee while showed “inappropriate behaviour” towards other civilian security guards.

The incidents happened in October and November at hotels in Rotorua and Auckland, details released to Stuff under the Official Information Act show.

Two other complaints were dismissed.

The first incident happened at the Rydges Rotorua on October 22.

The soldier was alleged to have shown anti-social behaviour towards civilian security guards.

The complaint was upheld and the soldier was removed from duty and deemed unsuitable for further participation in the project.

Four days later at the Ibis in Rotorua, a soldier showed a civilian guard an “explicit image” on his phone. He was also removed from duty and although not charged but was given further training in sexual ethics and respectful relationships.

A soldier working at the Novotel in Ellerslie on November 9 was removed from duty and charged after giving a returnee their personal phone number on a piece of paper.

Since June, the Sudima, Ibis and Rydges hotels have provided facilities for returning citizens to safely isolate, creating more than 200 jobs.

About 75,000 have returned to Aotearoa, with 3500 completing their two-week managed isolation stay in Rotorua.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has ruled out setting up a managed isolation and quarantine facility at one of the country’s New Zealand Defence Force camps, despite calls from one of the country’s leading epidemiologists.

Professor Michael Baker suggested building a state-of-the-art facility the Air Force base at Ohakea which could also be used in future pandemics.

However, a spokesperson for Managed Isolation and Quarantine said a key constraint to the idea was finding the amount of essential workers required.

“We need nurses, defence personnel and police to run these facilities, and this a limited workforce.”

“In addition to workforce supply issues, a minority of hotels meet our requirements.

“There are a limited number of suitable facilities that are in locations where there is also a suitable hospital facility.”

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