Tens of thousands of stranded tourists will be helped out of New Zealand despite coronavirus lockdown

Tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals will be helped out of New Zealand despite the Level 4 Alert and lockdown.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced on Thursday foreign nationals travelling home will now be considered as undergoing essential travel, meaning they can move through New Zealand on their way out.

Peters says the freedom to travel across the country only applies to foreign nationals who have an exit plan.

"If you do not have a confirmed international ticket, then you must stay in self-isolation. Stay put and continue to follow Alert Level 4 guidelines and maintain your bubble."

On top of this, foreign governments will be allowed to charter flights to rescue their citizens - if the flights meet New Zealand's health and safety requirements.

Commercial capacity between New Zealand and Europe will also be increased, by New Zealand approving a second daily flight between Doha to Auckland by Qatar Airways.

"It is clear that many foreign nationals travelling here do not have the resources or capability to adequately self-isolate, and wish to return home,” said Peters in a statement.

“We have taken the time and care to develop a seriously detailed plan for the exit of foreign nationals, without endangering the lives of others."

The Government will also look into how to rescue Kiwis currently stuck overseas.

"Given that Air New Zealand intends to fly charter flights from New Zealand to Europe for European governments, we will explore the extent to which New Zealanders can return in the planes on the way back."