Coronavirus: Winston Peters gets top marks from US Ambassador for COVID-19 work

Winston Peters gets top marks from the United States' Ambassador to New Zealand for his work in helping get Americans home. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic essentially ending international travel and many countries - including New Zealand - introducing strict border controls and domestic travel restrictions, citizens stuck outside of their countries and away from an airport have struggled to get home. 

While working to repatriate Kiwis stuck around the world, including in Peru, India and on a cruise liner in Montevideo, Peters, the Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, has also been assisting in helping other people get home.

Scott Brown says Peters gets top marks 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."

Under a "managed exit plan", foreign nationals in New Zealand travelling home are considered to be engaging in essential travel when heading to an airport for a scheduled flight out of the country. Many of these flights have been arranged by foreign governments, but must satisfy New Zealand's health requirements. 

"We are conscious that returning foreign nationals to their home countries will reduce the potential pressure on health services in New Zealand, and reduce the risk of welfare issues developing for those people who are stranded and unable to afford to be here much longer," Peters said when announcing the policy in early April.

Peters has also helped assist foreign travellers in other countries get home by organising a transit programme. 

"New Zealand has received an increasing number of requests from foreign governments to allow the transit through Auckland of their nationals, including those currently in Pacific Island countries, so that they can connect with commercial or evacuation flights to their home countries,” Peters said.

Those transiting through New Zealand must remain airside, cannot enter New Zealand, cannot stay in transit for more than 10 hours, and must meet health requirements, including not having COVID-19 symptoms.