International media outlets are calling out Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after she ordered the country into its fourth COVID-19 lockdown on Saturday.
Auckland is in alert level 3 and the rest of the country in alert level 2 after a 21-year-old man tested positive for the virus.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the man was tested for COVID-19 on Friday and returned a positive result on Saturday.
"He developed symptoms of general weakness and a fever on Tuesday, February 23, and loss of taste and smell the following day," Dr Bloomfield said.
"We are regarding him as infectious since last weekend."
The decision comes after reports the infected case had visited a number of locations with high risk of transmission, including a gym.
Here's what international headlines are saying.
'It's ridiculous' - Sky News Australia
Sky News host Paul Murray says he "can't believe" the "poor people of Auckland" have to face another seven-day lockdown based on "just one case" of coronavirus.
"It's ridiculous," he said on Sunday. "There are vaccines being rolled out around the world, including New Zealand.
"The idea that a single case results in 1.5 million people not being able to leave their homes again..."
'Ardern under pressure' - The Guardian
The Guardian says Ardern's government is under pressure over how to respond to those undermining New Zealand's COVID-19 response.
"Ardern had told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report that it was 'obviously very frustrating' that rules had been broken, but that decision whether or not to prosecute rested with police."
"She resisted suggestions that the government's processes were inadequate, or that it had been premature to end last month's lockdown after three days."
Lockdown 'tests New Zealanders' patience' - Reuters
Reuters says the new restrictions will test Kiwis' patience and complicate the America's Cup event scheduled to begin on March 6.
America's Cup organisers said they were "working through the implications" in a tweet.
"Almost two million people in Auckland were forced into a snap three-day lockdown in mid-February."
Social media users around the world said they felt 'bad' for Kiwis
"NZ doesn't want freedom, they want comfort. I feel bad for those people," one person commented on Twitter.
"Seems like an overreaction," another commented.
"I wonder what happens if someone screams 'boo' in New Zealand?"
But others defended Ardern's decision.
"There's a reason they've had 26 deaths and have been living life as normal for months. No distancing, no masks, everything open and that didn't happen because they just ignored it and hoped it would go away," one person responded.
"One case could spread to a few, then a few hundred, then out of control. Quick lockdown, stop it spreading and then life returns to normal."