NZ keeping Wuhan flight fee for Kiwis

Ben McKay
Jacinda Ardern is standing by her plan to ask Kwis to pay part of the cost of uplift from China

New Zealand's government is standing firm on its request for a fee from Kiwis, Australians and their family members looking to leave Wuhan as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

The Australian government axed a mooted $1000 fee from those seeking refuge from the Chinese city, ahead of their uplift on Monday.

Jacinda Ardern defended her government's choice to charge its citizens $NZ500 ($A483) - as well as any Australians or Pacific Islanders - seeking a route to New Zealand.

"I think that's just a recognition that these are families and individuals who would otherwise be paying privately to be returned back," she said.

"It's certainly not anywhere near the cost ... it goes towards some partial recovery.

"I haven't had anyone raise it with me that it's an issue."

Around 80 New Zealanders have expressed an interest in the government-chartered Air New Zealand flight, with some Australians also involved in the Kiwi uplift.

While Australians on board the Qantas flight are bound for remote Christmas Island, where they'll be quarantined for a fortnight, the New Zealand flight is headed to Auckland.

Once on home soil, they'll be taken to Whangaparaoa, a stunning coastal navy training facility just 30 minutes north from the country's biggest city.

While there have been more than 17,000 cases of the disease globally - and 12 in Australia - New Zealand has yet to see its first confirmed case.

The Chinese consul general in Auckland, Ruan Ping, said he was "very disappointed" that New Zealand had made a decision to bar travellers from China, as many other countries have done.

Ardern said she was not worried about negative sentiment towards China from the ban.

"This is short term and temporary. We'll be reviewing every 48 hours," she said.

"I do want to acknowledge the role the Chinese government has played in trying to contain transmission, it has been incredible.

"What we're trying to do is continue to support that containment."