The National Party is calling for the Government to move COVID-19 managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities outside of Auckland's CBD to help safeguard against future lockdowns.
Chris Bishop, National's COVID-19 Response spokesperson, says Kiwis can't afford to keep going in and out of lockdown.
"The recent Pullman hotel cases showed just how much risk Auckland is at of another community outbreak because of the ingrained problems with MIQ," he wrote in a statement on Sunday.
"New Zealand can't afford to keep yo-yo-ing in and out of lockdown and Auckland's economy can't afford to keep bleeding more than $30 million per day."
Auckland was placed into a level 3 lockdown on February 15 after a border worker tested positive for COVID-19 in the community. The three-day lockdown distressed business owners who were forced to close their doors without financial support.
Bishop says a purpose-built quarantine facility with a separate ventilation system can both reduce the risk of airborne transmission among returnees and for the virus to spread into heavily-populated urban areas such as Auckland CBD.
"A purpose-built facility may prove expensive but its cost will be dwarfed by the economic hit of putting Auckland into more lockdowns.
"Using hotels for managed isolation and quarantine has proven problematic, which is why experts have long suggested purpose-built facilities."
Epidemiologist and infectious disease expert Michael Baker in January said it would be a "sensible idea" for the Government to build specialised quarantine facilities.
Prof Baker told The Project the hotels being used aren't designed specifically for quarantine.
"The core idea of actually having dedicated facilities is actually quite sensible and obviously the quarantine hotels we're using at the moment are hotels - they're not designed for that."
Prof Baker says an alternative is to build specialised quarantine facilities similar to Ohakea Airbase, a military airport near Palmerston North.
"It might be quite a good investment for the future, given we're going to get other pandemic diseases on the horizon. So I think it's a sensible idea."
Bishop added New Zealand has "had more than enough wake-up calls".
"The Government should act now to get ahead of the problem before another COVID-19 outbreak forces yet another lockdown."
As early as July last year, the Government said it wouldn't move its managed isolation facilities out of Auckland. Megan Woods, who at the time was the minister in charge of MIQ, said managed isolation facilities had "clear health criteria" which is why they couldn't be moved out of the city.
"Inevitably we're led to large hotels which tend to be located in the CBD - you can't use any kind of those institutional living arrangements where there might be shared bathrooms," she told The AM Show.
"Believe me, I would love to have these places well away from the CBD."