Politics

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has applied new sanctions to Russia. Photo/Mark Mitchell

New Zealand will apply the largest trade sanctions against Russia to date in response to the atrocities uncovered as Russia withdraws.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced on Wednesday that the government would apply 35% tariffs on all imports from Russia.

It will also extend existing export bans to industrial products closely related to strategic Russian industries.

Mahuta said reports of atrocities against civilians in Ukraine were “abhorrent and reprehensible” and that New Zealand would continue to “respond to Putin’s senseless acts of aggression”.

O’Connor said that under the Russia Sanctions Act, the government would “apply tariffs to all Russian imports, and ban the export of industrial products such as ICT equipment and engines, sending a clear message that New Zealand will not fund or support the Russian war machine.”

O’Connor said the tariff increases would “work in conjunction with the international community as we seek to put pressure on Putin’s regime.”

O’Connor added that officials would be in regular contact with the companies to ensure the penalties were understood.

“Our response to the war in Ukraine is the most significant response to an international crisis that we have undertaken as a nation in recent history,” he added.

Mahuta said the government continued to call Russia to account for “war crimes and atrocities committed against innocent civilians”.

“Alongside 41 other countries, New Zealand has announced its support for prosecutions at the International Criminal Court and has funded the investigation,” Mahuta said.

Regulations will now be prepared to give effect to these policy decisions, to enable them to come into force from 25 April.