Imports of Russian gold banned

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor have announced that Aotearoa New Zealand will ban the import of Russian gold.

“Today’s decision further signals Aotearoa New Zealand’s condemnation of Russia’s flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“It underscores our intention of ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand does not become a safe haven for Russian assets.

“It also supports international efforts to ensure Russia does not circumvent international sanctions by leveraging its immense gold reserves to finance its illegal war,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Russia’s financial system has been cut off from international markets. New Zealand is moving now to prevent the Kremlin from resorting to propping up the rouble through its holdings of gold,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Russia’s Central Bank holds extensive gold reserves, estimated to be worth up to US$140bn. Twenty percent of the Russian Central Bank’s reserves are held in gold. Under the Russia Sanctions Act, we are making it illegal for New Zealanders to import gold of Russian origin,” Damien O’Connor said.

Today’s measure follows statements during last week’s G7 Summit on tackling Russia’s revenue from gold, Moscow’s largest export outside of the energy sector. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Japan have so far signalled they will prohibit imports of Russian gold. Australia has also announced it will impose an import ban on gold.

More details will be contained in Regulations which are now being finalised to bring the import ban into effect from 25 July.

Further information on sanctions taken under the Russia Sanctions Act 2022 can be found on the MFAT website: www.mfat.govt.nz/Russia-Sanctions