The government has announced additional flexibility for partners of New Zealand citizens or residents to secure entry into NZ.
From early October Australian citizens will be able to reunite with their Kiwi partners by lodging a simple entry request. On arrival they will receive a resident visa (unless there are character issues which requires a more complex application). Take advice whether a Permanent Resident Visa will be of benefit to avoid any future border restrictions.
Overseas partners from 61 visa waiver countries will also have a pathway in early October to apply for entry permission to reunite with their Kiwi partner. If border entry is approved the next step is lodging a formal Critical Purpose Visitor Visa application which also needs to be approved before booking flights. Applicants will need to prove they have a genuine and stable relationship with their Kiwi partners, and this is a high threshold to meet. Take advice.
People who have already applied for a partner visa (residence or temporary entry) can now look forward to their visa application starting to move forward. Many of these applications have been on hold for 6 months or more but now they will get allocated to an Immigration Officer for assessment. If a person is approved a temporary visa it will be valid for 6 months allowing plenty of time for travel given the restricted number of flights to New Zealand. Resident Visas will be valid for 12 months. Be patient - there is a long queue so while processing has just been turned back on decisions won't be immediate. There maybe requests for updated relationship evidence or medical information.
Keep up to date on the rules and what to expect at managed isolation/quarantine on arrival at https://www.miq.govt.nz/