Coronavirus: New Zealand thanked in phone call between US Secretary of State and Winston Peters

The United States' Secretary of State has rung Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters to acknowledge New Zealand for helping American citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Thursday morning that he had a "productive" call with Peters, thanking New Zealand "for helping US citizens return home during this challenging time".

"US-New Zealand cooperation will continue to be critically important as we respond to COVID-19 in the Indo-Pacific and beyond," Pompeo said.

Peters has been instrumental in assisting foreign travellers in New Zealand get home in the face of global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With international tourism squashed and countries closing their border to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, airlines have been dropping out of travel routes, causing mayhem for tourists.

Among actions the Government has taken to assist foreign nations is a "managed exit plan" allowing them to undertake essential travel within New Zealand if they are heading to an airport for a scheduled flight out of the country. Planes chartered by other countries have also been allowed to land.

Americans in other countries may have also benefited from New Zealand's transit programme, which allows people to travel through the country to their home, something previously not allowed when our borders were closed.

The call with Secretary Pompeo comes only a day after the US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown also thanked Peters for his work. 

"We had to get all of our citizens back home. Not only from [the Cook Islands] and Niue and Antarctica, obviously New Zealand," Brown told The AM Show. 

"I do just want to give a shout to the Deputy Prime Minister because he and his team were incredible. Really banging down the door and helping to get our citizens.

"I want people to know that the relationship and the things that we are doing still happen behind the scenes, but he and his team really get high marks in my book."