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New Zealand set to rush legislation allowing it to impose sanctions on Russia

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the post-Cabinet press conference in Wellington, New Zealand,  March 7, 2022 (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the post-Cabinet press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, March 7, 2022 (Mark Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s government plans to rush through legislation that will allow it to impose economic sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

New Zealand’s existing laws don’t allow it to impose meaningful sanctions except as part of a broader United Nations effort. That has left New Zealand hamstrung since Russia has UN Security Council veto power.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the new legislation will allow New Zealand to target people, companies and assets associated with the invasion, including Russian oligarchs. New Zealand also could freeze assets and stop superyachts or planes from arriving.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the bill “will send a very clear signal that New Zealand will not be a safe haven for those wishing to move their investments here.”

The Russia Sanctions Bill is scheduled to be heard by lawmakers on Wednesday and could pass as quickly as the same day. Ardern says she’s hoping it will be supported by lawmakers across all parties although a unanimous vote wasn’t guaranteed.

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