New Zealand Government not ruling out using cruise ships to quarantine arriving passengers

The use of cruise ships as quarantine hotels is one of many options being considered by the Government as the number of Kiwis returning home and needing isolation increases to nearly 6000.

"I think everything is on the table at this point," Health Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference on Tuesday when asked about the use of ships as isolation facilities.

Hipkins said it's one of the options being looked at by Minister of Housing Megan Woods and Air Commodore Darryn Webb to tackle the issue of an accommodation shortage as more Kiwis return to Aotearoa.

"There are a whole lot of things to consider, the security of the facility is one of them," Hipkins told media.

"Making sure people have somewhere to exercise and get fresh air. Making sure they're getting natural light on a daily basis. Making sure they're not having to use shared facilities so rooms with ensuites for example.

"I think everything is on the table at this point as long as it meets the relevant criteria."

This follows the announcement from the Government that Air New Zealand and any other airlines will stop selling tickets into the country temporarily to manage the number of people needing quarantine accommodation.

"Air New Zealand has agreed to put a temporary hold on new bookings in the short term, as well as looking at aligning daily arrivals with the capacity available at managed isolation facilities.

"People who have already booked flights with Air New Zealand will still be able to enter New Zealand subject to availability of quarantine space," Woods said on Tuesday.