Megan Woods, the Minister in charge of managed isolation and quarantine, said it was “encouraging” to see the Opposition support the idea of charging travellers for their stay in isolation facilities.
“It’s encouraging to see the Opposition coming out in support of something the Government’s been talking about for a number of weeks now,” she said.
It comes as National confirmed it would charge travellers entering the country $3000 to help cover the costs of managed isolation and quarantining, should they be elected to Government.
Ms Woods said the Government had to “very carefully pick our way through” the complexities of managed isolation.
She said any charge needed to be “fair” and “equitable”.
She said charges needed to balance the cost of the facilities to taxpayers against keeping people safe from Covid-19.
“This is work we’ll have more to say on very soon.”
She said the Government was looking at any “legal impediments” that may affect the way people could be charged.
“This requires detailed investigation to ensure that any cost recovery system is fair and equitable, and is balanced with the legal rights of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents to come back home.”
She said the Government would only ever consider a co-payment, and would cover the costs of security.
National's Gerry Brownlee said earlier this afternoon if the Government had been considering the idea for some time, they were moving too slowly.
“We don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said.
Mr Brownlee also indicated National would make returnees deported under section 501 of Australia's Migration Act pay for their quarantine stays under a "payment plan".
“Just like everybody else, they’ll be offered a payment plan if they have no funds available to pay," he said.
“If they are no longer in custody, then they should be out in the community looking for work and at some point will have the ability to pay.”
Ms Woods said the Government would be speaking about details such as the 501 deportees when the announce their policy.