Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has announced that the Government will be bringing New Zealanders home from India.
“New Zealanders in India have faced challenging circumstances and the very difficult task of getting home from a country under full lockdown,” said Mr Peters.
“The Government is in discussion with airlines and international partners to help those New Zealanders stranded in India return home. This is a seriously complex endeavour due to the current lockdown and the large number of New Zealanders in various locations around India. However, we are making very good progress,” said Mr Peters.
“We are asking all New Zealanders in India to seriously consider taking our government-assisted flights home. There are no guarantees when international commercial flights will return to India and New Zealanders shouldn’t be relying on that happening in the short-term.”
India announced a ban on international flights on 22 March, and the country has been in lockdown since 25 March, leaving New Zealanders with no flight options. Stranded New Zealanders will need to contribute to the cost of any government-facilitated flights from India, and the cost will be comparable to recent government-assisted departures from other locations, such as Peru.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the largest consular response ever undertaken by New Zealand, and finding solutions that will work is the focus of significant ongoing efforts and government support.
“We know that New Zealanders in a range of locations are facing challenging conditions. We continue to monitor the global situation and its impacts on New Zealanders abroad, wherever they may be,” Mr Peters said.