This year's Budget won't set aside any funding for a purpose-built facility for a future pandemic or similar emergency event, the Herald understands.
Health experts have long pushed for Such a facility at the Air Force site in Ohakea, which could provide separate rooms and bathrooms with good ventilation, as well as move the risk away from more densely-populated centres.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has previously said that the Government was seriously considering one.
But Cabinet discussions around such a facility are ongoing, the Herald understands, including whether one should be located close to an urban centre or attached to an Air Force base in a more remote area.
If an immediate need for such a facility arises, the Government could still fund one from the remains of its $62 billion Covid response and recovery fund (CRRF), some of which will be kept for contingency purposes.
That part of the fund could also be used if there's another outbreak and subsequent lockdown, which would require more wage subsidies or business support.
But much of what remains in the fund will be allocated for recovery - such as to boost housing supply and infrastructure - rather than for response purposes.
That's because the foreseeable future needs for vaccines, testing kits and PPE supplies have been accounted for in funding announced in December last year.
Today Hipkins is expected to provide more detail about up to $2b of the Government's Covid-related spending for Budget 2021.
It will be part of a pre-Budget announcement that Hipkins will make alongside the weekly vaccination update, and is expected to include funding that's been allocated for the following year.
Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield has previously said there is a $1b budget for buying vaccines, which the Ministry of Health is yet to exhaust.
New Zealand has purchase agreements for four vaccines - Pfizer, Janssen, Novavax and AstraZeneca - but the ministry has declined to say how much it has spent on each vaccine, citing commercial sensitivity.
Thursday's Budget will reveal how much is left in the CRRF, which was boosted by $50b in last year's Budget to a total of $62b - or 21 per cent of GDP.
In February the Government said $10.2b was left, but it has since been bolstered by the $926 million that had been previously allocated which ministers no longer expected to spend.
The fund has also been drained by the $3.8b housing fund, announced in March, to acquire more land and develop infrastructure - including roads and pipes to homes - so more houses can be built.
The Covid kitty is not expected to be boosted in Budget 2021, but the Government can always borrow more money if it runs out.
While the cost of borrowing depends on several factors - including the Official Cash Rate and New Zealand's credit rating - Treasury estimates that the current average borrowing cost is 1.63 per cent.
Core Crown interest expenses for the year ended June 2021 were forecast to be $2b, according to Treasury, down from $3.2b for the previous year.
Of the money in the Covid fund that's been spent, the largest portion has gone to MBIE (24 per cent) and MSD (24 per cent), with tertiary education (8 per cent), education (6 per cent), transport (6 per cent) and housing and urban development (5 per cent) eating up the next biggest shares.
Big ticket items for 2020/21 year from were $710m for Three Waters reforms, $500m for boosting the national land transport programme, and $412m for supporting apprentices.
Money has been allocated all the way out to 2023/24, including $235m in that year for environmental work improving mini wetlands, stabilising river banks, and removing sediment.
Funding for most aspects of the Covid response up until June 2022 were set aside in December last year.
That included $1.12b for the ability to have up to 7000 tests a day, and ongoing support for contact-tracing, PPE supplies, and technology costs for the Ministry of Health and DHBs.
This is on top of the $251m in additional funding for health that was announced in October last year.
A further $1.74b - including for accommodation, transport, food, security and health services - has been allocated to ensure MIQ facilities can run until June 2022.
From July 1 last year to March 31 this year, $481.8m was spent on running MIQ - excluding health, police and Defence Force costs.
As of May 9, $60.8m had been invoiced to those staying in MIQ, of which $38.3m has been paid – or 62.9 per cent.