Professor Michael Baker and a group of his expert colleagues from Otago University have penned a blog highlighting "inconsistent and arbitrary" managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) requirements.
It comes as National's petition to end MIQ ticks past 75,000 signatures, with leader Judith Collins urging the Government to "just end it now and have a system for isolation and quarantine for people who are coming in from places where there is a lot of COVID".
In the blog post, Prof Baker along with Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr Jennifer Summers, and Lesley Gray, describe the current MIQ requirements for tested vaccinated travellers "inconsistent and arbitrary", given they pose a "lower risk of COVID-19 infection than Aucklanders".
"Auckland's total case rate of 83 per million per day is higher than the case rate in many countries, and higher than the vaccinated case rate in many more," they write.
"If you're at the supermarket in Auckland, a fully vaccinated person randomly teleported from Canada is less likely to infect you than an average resident Aucklander in the aisles."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has consistently denied it's inconsistent to allow vaccinated Aucklanders to travel the country at Christmas but still force overseas arrivals to quarantine.
Ardern also doesn't believe it's inconsistent to send international arrivals to mandatory MIQ, when more than 1000 COVID-19 cases in Auckland are self-isolating at home.
The Ministry of Health registered 109 new community cases of COVID-19 in Auckland on Sunday, and just one case in MIQ.
On the day she announced the Government's new COVID Protection Framework, or 'traffic light' system, to replace the alert levels, Ardern assured Aucklanders they'd be able to see family and friends across New Zealand for Christmas.
But for Kiwis abroad coming home to see family for Christmas, they will still have to spend seven days in a state-run MIQ facility followed by a further three days of isolation at home, before they can be free.
"The way that we are treating everyone who comes into New Zealand is the same as essentially what we're looking to treat contacts of a COVID case," Ardern told The AM Show last week.
"Someone who's looking to travel out of Auckland at a boundary, that's not an individual who we are treating as having come into contact with a COVID case."
She doubled down again speaking to The AM Show on Monday.
"At the moment, we're just making sure we do that carefully and safely because, as you hear from the people that help us with our modelling, if you switch off your border protections quickly you do seed extra cases."
Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien asked Ardern during an interview for Newshub Nation why she was waiting until March next year to allow self-isolation for returnees.
"We're at the moment trialling the checks and balances that we need to have in place for successful home isolation," Ardern said.
"We need to keep in mind that all of our health experts, our epidemiologists, talk about the fact that the more cases you seed into the community, the greater the risk of large-scale outbreaks, and so our careful consideration is, once you have home- isolation, you do still need to have checks and balances around it.
"Once you're allowing back New Zealand citizens where there is no limit on the numbers, that could be up to 40,000 people a week. So if you don't have a system that's able to adequately manage home isolation, that is potentially a large number of cases in the community."
But Prof Baker and his colleagues say filling MIQ rooms with arrivals who typically have a lower infection risk than Aucklanders "wastes limited MIQ space".
"Public health would be better served by having those rooms available for community cases, when their homes are not suitable for home isolation."
Collins says the time has come to end MIQ.
"We've had 76,000 people sign this petition and it's only been running for a few days. That is the biggest petition we have ever run in the National Party," she told Magic Talk.
"It is an indication of how bad it is; 1800 people with COVID living at home in the community and we've got all these people - 30,000 New Zealanders - who can't get home because of this MIQ system and they don't have COVID, they're double vaccinated, and they've been told they have to wait.
"Just end it now and have a system for isolation and quarantine for people who are coming in from places where there is a lot of COVID."
If National had its way, lockdowns would no longer be used to curb COVID-19 outbreaks when 70-75 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated. With 78 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated, we'd already be there.
National would then drop COVID-19 restrictions once 85 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated, or on December 1 - whichever comes first. It would essentially be 'freedom day' for Kiwis, the likes of which has been seen in the UK and Australia.