The National Party wants any provider to be able to apply to accommodate foreigners under Covid-19 quarantine standards that its national border agency would set, inspect and enforce.
It could see the private sector play a greater role in more open borders under a National-led government, and more managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) capacity beyond the current 7300 beds.
National's deputy leader Gerry Brownlee is releasing details in Auckland today about the party's longer-term border strategy.
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The policy is understood to include having National's proposed NZ Border Protection Agency - which would be established within 100 days of taking office - take the lead on MIQ safety standards.
Those standards would continue to aim to keep New Zealand as Covid-free as possible, which would likely require any facility to keep travelling cohorts separate and provide one bathroom per person or per travellers' bubble.
But the cost to the taxpayer could lighten with more private sector involvement, and greater MIQ capacity could see more foreign workers and students allowed into the country.
National already wants overseas arrivals to pay for MIQ - $3000 for a managed isolation room and an extra $1000 for an additional person and $500 for each child aged over 16.
It is understood that under National's policy, the border agency could allow providers to charge more for foreigners who are prepared to isolate in plusher accommodation - as long as safety standards are met.
It's unclear if National's announcement will include a timeline on when the border could be opened more.
National has previously touted its border agency as a way to tidy up the many layers of the Covid response and provide clearer accountability.
Act similarly wants the Government to set MIQ safety standards, and if they are met - by educational institutes or even Airbnbs - then foreigners should be allowed in.
Currently all MIQ facilities are Government-run, with $479 million set aside to cover costs from March until the end of the year.
NZ First has said MIQ should be moved to army bases, while Labour wants 10 per cent of MIQ to be set aside for non-Kiwis, with a particular focus on letting in migrant workers who plug a particular skills-gap that Kiwis can't fill.
The Government has previously said that special purpose-built MIQ facilities are being explored, and has outlined criteria for loosening the border, including a quicker turnaround time for tests, the ability to treat a large number of people, and whether there is a vaccine.
National has also committed to rolling out Bluetooth-based tech to help avoid future lockdowns or partial lockdowns, but it hasn't committed to a particular technology.
It is keeping tabs on different options including the latest Apple-Google collaboration, which identifies your location and close contacts. An exposure notification is sent to your device if you've been in the same place at the same time with someone who tested positive.