Most Kiwis want New Zealand's borders to stay shut to non-residents, despite high-powered calls to soften restrictions to ease economic pain.
That's according to the NZ Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 poll, suggesting 68 per cent of people think our border policy should be kept as is.
About 29 per cent thought the ban could be relaxed to allow in non-New Zealand residents and citizens, so long as they quarantined for two weeks and paid for it.
The poll further found that, although their city had the most quarantine facilities in the country, Aucklanders were more likely to favour a softening.
Thirty-five per cent of those earning more than $100,000 also backed a change in policy, as long as conditions were met.
The data revealed a slight gap in views between the sexes: nearly three-quarters of women wanted borders to remain closed, compared with 63 per cent of men.
Professor Michael Plank, a University of Canterbury mathematician who's been modelling our border risk, said the poll showed a "large majority" of support for the status quo.
"This shows that, despite the downsides of keeping the border closed, there is wide public support for it as a measure to keep Covid-19 out of the community."
It comes after former prime minister Sir John Key, speaking as chairman of ANZ Bank at an Auckland conference yesterday, suggested New Zealand could widen its quarantine capacity, allow in international students and lift its foreign buyer ban.
"We clearly don't want community transmission, but in the same way we welcome New Zealanders who are returning from overseas, appropriately putting them in quarantine for 14 days and testing them - certainly the universities have the capacity to do that," Key said.
"I think we should allow them to bring foreign students in, I think they should be responsible for that quarantining."
And he told Newstalk ZB last night: "Why don't we let in rich Americans who want to build a house in New Zealand? Who cares? They're in Mangawhai or somewhere, they are going to create thousands of jobs.
"Why do we care if someone who lives in New York wants to spend $10 million building a house in Auckland, using NZ craftsmen and NZ trades people?"
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has similarly suggested entry be granted to skilled migrant workers.
And former chief science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman, former prime minister Helen Clark and ex-Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe have called for the country to begin talking about how it might re-open to the world.
Plank agreed the Government could start looking at "travel bridges" with countries that had no community transmission, or letting foreign students in.
"But before we do this, we need to be absolutely sure that we can do it in a way that does not pose a significant risk of re-introducing Covid-19 into the community," he said.
"As we have seen, quarantining large numbers of people at the border is a complex and difficult operation.
"If we have an outbreak of community transmission, it will have a devastating impact on our economy as well as our health."
More than 35,000 Kiwis have now come through border isolation facilities, and it was revealed yesterday that extra security measures have been put in place after a recent spate of escapes.
That included 28 security managers being spread across each hotel used, more training for staff, and beefed up technology such as CCTV and motion detection sensors.
Officials and scientists have meanwhile stepped up calls for Kiwis to be vigilant about Covid-19, after a disastrous surge of cases this week forced Victoria into lockdown.
Plank said what had dramatically unfolded in Melbourne – hundreds of nearly 5000 active cases were reported in just 24 hours – could easily have had happened here, if a case breached the border.
He likened New Zealand's present uninfected and free-moving population to a "big pile of kindling, just waiting to go".
"Good borders are the first line of defence, and contact tracing is the second, but I think we've got a bit of work to do in terms or readiness with contact tracing, and people keeping a record of where they've been."
Prominent Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said New Zealand could better prepare itself by holding simulated community outbreaks, and even running "mask days" to familiarise Kiwis with wearing them.
"In Victoria, there has been quite a delay here. And you can't go from having no experience with masks at a population level to being able to use them."
Health Minister Chris Hipkins yesterday told the Herald there was "considerable ongoing work" on preparations for any future community cases.
"Simulated scenario events are obviously an option, but are not something we would announce in advance - you don't get advance notice of outbreaks after all."
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has already indicated masking could be a voluntary measure if the country moved back to level 2, and mandatory at level 3.