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Every week thousands of Kiwi’s grab a Lotto ticket dreaming of winning ‘life changing’ millions. Sure it costs a few bucks to enter the draw and the chances of winning are miniscule but the ‘hope’ it provides is actually quite joyful. Yesterday, the Government launched their MIQ lottery, just like Lotto it has the ability to change lives but as I discovered, it’s nowhere near as fun and crushes hope.

Thankfully, I wasn’t able to use the ‘old’ MIQ booking system (as it was turned off before I needed to race to the UK), but I understand that with it’s ‘click and refresh’ process (and ability to hire people or a program to do the job for you) it was flawed to say the least. Well the new queuing system appears to be just as bad.

It sounded good, only ONE passport-entry allowed which gets you into a lobby where you’re randomly given a place in the queue to book your slot, all very mature and civilised, however…

I checked into the lobby bang on 8am (9pm UK), and waited. The clock slowly ticks down for an hour as I assumed a few other people would add in their details and join me – socially distanced by computers of course. I have to say that my hopes were pretty high as there were 3,000 spots available over a 4 month period (to December).

At bang on 9am (10pm UK time) the screen starts to change as it randomly calculates your place in the queue, I held my breath as ‘this can take up to 1 minute’. Then ta-da, the screen changes again and your number is revealed – which in my case was 12,891!!!

It’s hard to say what I felt but disappointment is way up there.

The initial reaction is to just log back out and have a consolation beer, however, being an optimist (and English so used to queuing) I hung around. The numbers go down painfully slowly and after around an hour it edged into the 11,000’s – so there was still hope as it only closes when ALL spaces are filled.

Next, the message changes in on screen saying that all December bookings were filled, and those only wanting December should leave, this resulted in a few hundred spaces gone – into the 10,000’s.

Over the next half an hour I edged closer to four digits and November became filled, again more people left the lobby. My flight is booked for October so I remained. Alas, at around midnight UK time October was gone and so too was my hope (I got to 6,656).

According to reports, there were around 25,000 people vying for 3,000 slots, better odds than Lotto but to most of us, far more at stake and not even a chance of a bonus ticket.

What’s more, when (if) rooms become available again, I will have to go through the same process again, in the hope that my random number is lower.

As I said in the outset, I assume this system is better than before but personally I feel that it could be improved. For starters, are all entries double vaccinated? Also, dispensation for those of us that have spent four hours in the lobby already? Oh and maybe MORE BLOODY SPACES AVAILABLE!!!!

Lotto is still far more fun

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