Ineffective action on Russia by NZ Government

The Government’s second tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine is disappointing and ineffective, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“Almost four weeks after Parliament passed the Russia Sanctions Act, the second tranche of sanctions announced by the Government will be disappointing to our Ukrainian community and international partners.

“Entities like the biggest Russian banks and financial service providers are noticeably absent. New Zealand has sanctioned only one bank, Promsvyazbank, under the Act and it’s not even Russia’s largest.

“The Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister continue to insist we are in ‘lockstep’ with our traditional partners in taking action, but this is not evident.

“The United States, United Kingdom, Australia and European Union have frozen the assets of Russia’s major banks, institutions and individuals, hampering Russia’s ability to finance its war.

“To date, of the 488 individuals sanctioned, only 49 have been subject to asset freezes – an astounding 439 are only subject to travel bans, which are currently meaningless as Russian nationals are not permitted into New Zealand until October when the border opens.

“The Government should urgently introduce new sanctions that mirror actions taken by our traditional partner nations, so we can fully join united action against Russia’s invasion and human rights atrocities, instead of putting out press release proclaiming actions that are disappointing.”