NZ allows for significant expansion of sanctions on Russia

  • First of its kind legislation to enable further sanctions on those responsible for or associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including people, services, companies, and assets
  • Targeting those economically or strategically important to Russia, including oligarchs
  • Sanctions able to extend to those supporting Russian invasion, like Belarus
  • Ability to:
    • Freeze assets in NZ
    • Prevent people and companies from moving their money and assets to NZ to escape sanctions imposed by other countries
    • Stop super yachts, ships and aircraft from entering NZ waters or airspace
  • Travel ban list of over 100 individuals published today

The Government will significantly expand its sanctions on Russia and individuals and companies connected to the Russian Government through a first of its kind, targeted, autonomous sanctions regime.

The Russia Sanctions Bill will pass under urgency this week, to provide further, extensive sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“A Bill of this nature has never been brought before our Parliament, but with Russia vetoing UN sanctions we must act ourselves to support Ukraine and our partners in opposition to this invasion,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“When we first responded to Russia’s invasion by issuing targeted travel bans, prohibiting exports to the military and suspending bilateral foreign ministry consultations we said no options were off the table.

“Today we take the next step in our response to increase sanctions, in line with the actions of our partners.

“This Bill is specific to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and will allow new sanctions to be applied as approved by the Foreign Minister.

“Those sanctions can be imposed on people, services, companies, and assets related to those in Russia who are responsible for or associated with the invasion, or that are of economic or strategic relevance to Russia, including oligarchs.

“A public sanctions register will be set up to list every individual, entity, asset, or service that is sanctioned.

“The sanctions will enable the Government to freeze assets located in New Zealand. Those sanctioned will also be prevented from moving assets to New Zealand or using our financial system as a back door to get around sanctions increasingly imposed by other countries. 

“Sanctions could also apply to trade, and financial institutions as well as stopping the likes of Russian super yachts, ships and aircraft from entering New Zealand waters or airspace.

“The Bill also allows for sanctions to be imposed against other states complicit with Russia’s illegal actions, such as Belarus,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said as a small country that is a supporter of the multilateral system to uphold peace and security New Zealand has historically supported sanctions through the United Nations system.

“However with Russia using its veto as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to prevent any action, even in the face of overwhelming opposition to Russia’s war, New Zealand has decided that a targeted sanctions bill is required to show our condemnation in the strongest possible terms.

“New Zealand continues to call on Russia to do what is right and immediately cease military operations in Ukraine and permanently withdraw to avoid a catastrophic loss of innocent life.

“The Government welcomed the feedback from all parties in Parliament in the development of this legislation, and the cross-party support of the Bill allowing it to pass under urgency,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Government continues to seek advice on a full autonomous sanctions regime.

The Government has also provided an initial $2m in humanitarian aid, prioritised visa applications and released some emergency oil stocks to help stabilise shaky oil markets.

Note to editors: Travel ban list can be found here