Currently, Immigration NZ's workforce has been focused on border control. During the lockdown, almost every immigration officer could not work. Therefore there are so many backlogs to be cleared out.
If INZ continues selecting EOIs, it will have more problems as there will be a long queue. It is not professional when the immigration officers are still dealing with applications submitted in Jan to March 2019 right now. Therefore, INZ deferred its EOI selection so it will have time to catch up with applications which have been sitting there for almost 2 years.
We advised our clients to prepare and submit their EOIs and wait for the selection. As soon as INZ resumes the selection, our clients' EOIs will be the front of the queue.
Even if you are qualified for SMC, if you are in a relationship with a NZ resident or citizen, we advise you to consider going for the Partnership based resident visa applications. It is because immigration officers are still processing the partner visas in Hamilton. It is also one of the priorities. More importantly, its processing time is much faster - around 10 months at this stage.