Coronavirus: Hundreds of stranded New Zealanders helped home

Hundreds of stranded travellers have been helped back home in the largest consular response New Zealand has ever undertaken.

In the latest efforts, 39 people were carried from Vanuatu and 13 were rescued from a cruise ship off Uruguay.

"Consular teams here and around the world are navigating extremely complex circumstances every day, to continue to find solutions that work," Foreign Minister Winston Peters says in a statement released Sunday.

"Our most recent repatriation effort occurred this afternoon with 13 people previously stranded aboard the Greg Mortimer cruise ship off the coast of Uruguay having arrived in Auckland on a Government-chartered medevac plane from Melbourne.

"These people were in a dangerous situation, with very limited options to return, and a huge amount of work went into assisting them to leave Uruguay."

But National's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade [MFAT] can't forget about those stranded in India.

"We have Kiwis who are in India who are running the risk of being without medication, money and being evicted from hotels," he says in a statement.

"The Government has announced a mercy flight from Peru but with over 3000 Kiwis currently spread over Asia, only having one flight will not solve the problem for people stranded in India."

Peters says the Government is continuing to look for solutions in an "extremely complex global environment".

"Government-chartered flights will only be explored in exceptional circumstances when all other options have been exhausted," he says.

"New Zealanders overseas should be seeking to shelter safely where they are or return home by commercial means where possible."

But Brownlee believes more needs to be done for Kiwis around the world.

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade [MFAT] has issued the advice to 'shelter in place'. This advice provides no practical help. I would encourage MFAT to look at every possibility for bringing Kiwis home," he says.

"Our responsibility should not just stop at those within New Zealand but extend to include those who are desperately trying to return back to their families and loved ones."