Government should expel Russian Ambassador

The Government should expel the Russian Ambassador to New Zealand, recall our own top diplomat from Moscow and then pass an autonomous sanctions bill so we can get serious about showing the world where we stand, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“New Zealand’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine so far has been seriously lacking compared to the rest of the global community. It’s vital the world demonstrates a united front against Russian aggression, and New Zealand must play its part in that.

“When our traditional partners and allies are imposing serious economic sanctions, often at great cost to themselves, Labour’s travel ban on officials and limits on diplomatic engagement are simply not good enough. It’s time to stop issuing press releases and start taking action.

“Expelling an ambassador is a serious diplomatic move, but it’s clear that President Putin has no intention of engaging constructively through diplomatic channels. The time for diplomacy was last week.

“While our own ability to sanction Russia is hamstrung by Labour’s refusal to implement an autonomous sanctions framework, we need to be using every other tool at our disposal to demonstrate to the Russian Government, the people of Ukraine and our global partners exactly where we stand.

“National also reiterates our call for the Government to urgently pass autonomous sanctions legislation. I have submitted a bill that could be passed this week.

“The Government should pass it, expel Russia’s Ambassador, and get on board with the rest of the international community in getting serious about sanctions.”