No more excuses on autonomous sanctions

The effects of the Government’s failure to support legislation to create an autonomous sanctions regime have never been starker, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“Russia’s military invasion into Ukraine, under the guise of ‘peacekeeping operations’, is a blatant violation of international law and of Ukraine’s sovereignty, threatening the peace and stability of Europe.

“Our traditional partners – the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union – have imposed, in a coordinated effort, punitive sanctions that send a clear message to Russia. These include cutting finances for large Russian banks, freezing assets of key Russian individuals, and preventing the operation of a central gas pipeline.

“Yet our Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs refused to confirm if the Government will implement such legislation, saying my Autonomous Sanctions Bill was not ‘fit for purpose’. Neither have released the advice they received from officials that led to this conclusion.

“The Autonomous Sanctions Bill explicitly provides for the asset freezes and trade embargoes that would allow New Zealand to join our traditional partners in punitive action against Russian entities. Any issues with scope could be easily amended on advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“This Government must stop merely issuing press releases and statements. It is not too late for New Zealand to stand with our traditional partners in defence of our values.”