Calls for New Zealand to open its borders immediately are "frankly dangerous", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
She said New Zealand was in a privileged position due to its "hard-won gains", and opening the borders while the pandemic was still escalating came at a potential price.
Imported cases had led to outbreaks in New Zealand, and the reason for the current freedoms in New Zealand was because of the strict border measures, she said.
Ardern said opening up more to Australia and the Pacific was being considered, but anyone pushing for more open borders now was dangerous.
National Party leader Todd Muller this morning did not call for borders to be opened up in the short-term, but asked for clarity around the criteria for mandatory quarantine measures in the medium and long term.
Asked if she was referring to the Opposition when she said it was "dangerous" to call for immediate easing of border restrictions, Ardern said it was up to the Opposition to articulate its position.
"But I have seen suggestion of the borders being open, not just in public statements" but also in parliamentary questions.
She said opening borders would only be considered in the short-term with countries that have contained Covid-19 as well as New Zealand has.
Medium- and long-term easing of restrictions depended on a number of factors including the turnaround time for tests, how rampant Covid-19 is, the ability to treat a large number of people and whether there is a vaccine available.
"But right now ... it does mean it would be dangerous if we simply opened up our borders and relied on things like contact-tracing. So I push back hard on any suggestion we should do that."
Four more quarantine facilities to open
Four more quarantine facilities are due to open as more Kiwis arrive home from overseas, Ardern says, adding about 900 extra beds.
Ardern said the number of people in quarantine or managed isolation was 4858, and there was breathing space as there was capacity for 6103.
There were 2751 arrivals and 1759 departures expected this week, and more back-up capacity was available.
Ramping up capacity was needed to match the increasing inflow of returning Kiwis, she said.
Of the 1200-odd spare beds in quarantine and managed isolation facilities, she said the numbers were increasing and that spare capacity would soon be filled.
Asked about sharing Covid briefings with the National Party, Ardern said she shared information publicly as soon as it was possible.
On Apec 2021 going virtual, Ardern said there was too much uncertainty about face-to-face meetings.
She said a "wide range of options" were considered about Apec 2021, but making it virtual was a "balanced decision" in an uncertain Covid environment.
There were obviously benefits of face-to-face meetings, but the uncertainty of Covid meant that a virtual Apec would be less risky.
No new cases today
The Ministry of Health has just announced that there are no new cases today, the first "zero" day since June 18.
There are 22 active cases, all confined to quarantine or managed isolation facilities. There have been no cases of community transmission.
One person remains in Auckland City Hospital in a stable condition on a ward.
This morning Ardern said that the Government was considering changing the law to ensure Kiwis heading overseas on holiday have to pay for 14 days' quarantine or managed isolation on their return.
Asked about Kiwis considering a holiday to Europe, which will open its borders to New Zealand and 13 other countries from July 1, Ardern said: "Don't. Enjoy your own backyard."
Figures released to RNZ showed 60 people left the country after alert level 4 was introduced and returned before May.
To the end of June, the Government has estimated it would spend $81 million on moving 21,500 Kiwis through border facilities - at an average of $3800 per person.
"We wouldn't be making it illegal to return," Ardern said.
"It's whether or not we can impose a cost to make that happen. This is the question we're asking - is there a difference between a New Zealander returning versus a New Zealander choosing to leave and then returning?"
That was the same question the Government was seeking an answer for as it considers co-payments for Kiwis in quarantine or managed isolation, which is being implemented in Queensland.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the ministry was working hard to secure supply of personal protective equipment, including gloves which are in short supply globally.
"New Zealand is also in a good position with its supplies for testing ‐ current stock across the country is sufficient to enable 253,190 tests."
Of the 2159 people who left managed isolation facilities between June 9 and June 16, 1284 people have now tested negative while 366 people have been referred for testing.
There are 367 people who have still not returned requests for contact, while 142 people will not be tested because of reasons such as being a child, being part of repositioning crew, currently being overseas or they are refusing a test; 84 people have refused testing.