13 Apr 2020

Government announces repatriation flights for New Zealanders in India

4:06 pm on 13 April 2020

The government has announced it will bring home New Zealanders from India.

Winston Peters

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters says New Zealanders in India have faced challenging circumstances. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

All Kiwis in the country - of which the government says there are a "large number" - are being asked to consider using the flights to come home.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters made the announcement this afternoon.

"New Zealanders in India have faced challenging circumstances and the very difficult task of getting home from a country under full lockdown," Peters said.

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"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.

"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."

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In a statement, Peters said 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.

Those taking up the government flights will need to contribute to the cost, which will be comparable to recent government-assisted departures from other locations, such as Peru.

Yesterday, a New Zealand woman in India told RNZ of being stuck in India, where she and her family her family haven't been able to leave the house for three weeks, and were uncertain when they will be able to get a flight out of the country.

And earlier in April, a group of Kiwi tourists stranded in New Delhi feared they would soon be evicted from their hotel and were begging the government for help to get home.

Peru flight

Meanwhile, final preparations are being made for the flight to get New Zealanders stranded in Peru home.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said close to 70 people had registered for the flight, including a small number of Australians.

The flight is expected to depart Lima in the early hours of tomorrow morning, New Zealand time.

Ardern said it was due to land in Auckland on Wednesday morning.

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