Our sanctions are aligned with those of like-minded countries from Asia Pacific, Europe and North America including Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and Canada. Together we aim to exert pressure on Russia to change course by limiting its ability to finance and equip the war in Ukraine.
The Russia Sanctions Act 2022 and its Regulations place a range of obligations on all New Zealanders by prohibiting or restricting specific activities. They also require New Zealanders to report any suspicious activity.
The Russia Sanctions Regulatory Charter [PDF, 1.3 MB] provides a good overview of the system.
On these pages, find out more about what sanctions are, who they target, how you can comply with the Act and Regulations, and where you can find help.
All information on these pages is provided as general guidance and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek your own legal advice about sanctions related issues.
Keep up to date with changes to the Regulations as New Zealand continues to respond to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Sanctions register and designation notices
The sanctions register and designation notices are regularly updated to help New Zealanders comply with Russia sanctions.
Apply for an exemption, revocation or amendment
If you have a humanitarian need, or other reason, you can apply for an exemption, revocation or amendment to the Regulations.
Find out who to contact if you have a query or want to report a suspicion.
Publications and guidance
Find useful documents about how the system is managed and helpful guidance.
These are the latest updates to the Regulations as New Zealand continues to respond to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
- 24 August 2023: Regulations amended to designate 19 individuals and two entities. This includes:
- 13 individuals with roles in the forced relocation of Ukrainian children
- Five Russian individuals and two Russian entities involved in the spread of disinformation related to Russia’s war against Ukraine
- An individual involved in the theft of Ukrainian cultural property
What are sanctions?
Sanctions are a way for New Zealand to express serious concern about a violation of international law. They are a common global tool that seeks to influence foreign governments, entities and individuals to change their behaviour without using armed force.
There are different types of sanctions, which place restrictions or prohibitions on activities between New Zealanders – individuals or businesses – and foreign states.
Common sanctions measures are:
- Restrictions on trade in goods and services.
- Restrictions on engaging in commercial activities.
- Targeted financial sanctions (including asset freezes) on individuals and entities.
- Travel bans on individuals.
What is the aim of sanctions?
Sanctions are designed to exert pressure on Russia to change its course of behaviour, including by interrupting economic relations and trade. They are most effective when they complement or reinforce sanctions by other countries.
Find out more about the sanctions imposed on Russia by our like-minded partners:
- Australia(external link)
- Canada(external link)
- European Union
- Japan(external link)
- United Kingdom(external link)
- United States of America
The Russia Sanctions Act 2022(external link), passed unanimously by Parliament on 9 March 2022 gives the Minister of Foreign Affairs the ability to impose sanctions in response to threats to the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine or another country.
Sanctions prevent New Zealand individuals, entities and financial institutions from having dealings with sanctioned persons, assets and services. This ensures that New Zealanders do not support, whether inadvertently or not, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Related: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
Find out more about Ukraine’s response to the invasion by Russia(external link).
Related: UN sanctions
As a United Nations Member State, New Zealand also implements sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. Find out more about UN sanctions.
Who do the sanctions target?
Sanctions target individuals and entities – businesses and organisations – that are of economic or strategic importance to Russia. Sanctions can also apply to assets and services that are designated under the Act (see Schedule 2 of the Russia Sanctions Regulations 2022(external link)).
Since March 2022, sanctions have been placed on over 1,000 individuals and entities of strategic or economic importance to the Russian government.
Under the Russia Sanctions Act, New Zealand has:
- Applied the full range of sanctions on hundreds of individuals, including President Putin and permanent members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, members of the State Duma and Federation Council who voted in favour of the recognition the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk, political, economic and military elites, occupation officials, and disinformation and malicious cyber actors.
- Sanctioned the branches and independent arms of service of the Russian Armed Forces, including logistical support.
- Sanctioned defence entities that are part of Russia’s military industrial complex, freezing their assets, prohibiting financial dealings, and banning any related aircraft and ships from entering New Zealand.
- Sanctioned key state-owned entities that provide export revenue to Russia, freezing their assets, prohibiting financial dealings, and banning any related aircraft and ships from entering New Zealand.
- Sanctioned key banks and financial entities, freezing their assets, prohibiting financial dealings, and banning any related aircrafts and ships from entering New Zealand.
- Banned Russian and Belarussian government and military aircraft and ships from entering New Zealand.
- Applied a 35% tariff on all imports of Russian origin.
- Banned the import of oil, gas, coal and gold of Russian origin.
- Prohibited the export of a range of goods to Russia and Belarus, including products that are closely connected to strategic Russian industries.
- Banned the export to Russia of certain luxury goods, and the import of certain luxury goods of Russia origin.
- Banned the export to Russia of oil exploration and oil production goods.
Who must comply with the sanctions?
- All individuals in New Zealand regardless of their nationality or resident status.
- All New Zealanders (citizens and those ordinarily resident(external link) in New Zealand) no matter where they are in the world.
- All New Zealand businesses and organisations no matter where they are operating in the world.
- All overseas businesses registered in New Zealand in respect of their activities connected to New Zealand. This includes the overseas activities of a New Zealand branch.
New Zealand enforcement agencies will look for a connection to New Zealand – such as actions by a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand branch – when considering enforcement action relating to overseas activities.
There is an exception that allows New Zealanders in Russia to use services of a sanctioned company, where necessary, for personal or household purposes, e.g. utility services. There are some other exceptions that could also apply – find out more about permitted activities [PDF, 717 KB].
There are civil and criminal liabilities for those who do not comply with the sanctions. Please see What you need to do – Complying with sanctions for more information.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, in certain circumstances.
- There are some circumstances where dealing with sanctioned persons, assets or services is allowed (all listed in regulation 12). For example, if you are owed payment due to a contract with a sanctioned person or entity before the date they were sanctioned.
- Importing of prohibited luxury goods of Russian origin to New Zealand is allowed if they are personal effects. Personal effects are considered to be:
- Things accompanying you when travelling, e.g., clothing.
- Household goods as part of a consignment if you are relocating, i.e., moving to New Zealand.
- Exporting prohibited luxury goods to Russia is allowed if they are personal effects. Personal effects are considered to be:
- Things accompanying you when travelling, e.g., clothing.
- Household goods as part of a consignment if you are relocating, i.e., moving to Russia.
- Exporting prohibited items to Russia or Belarus in good faith for a humanitarian purpose is allowed.
- Humanitarian organisations carrying out their humanitarian activities is allowed.
What is prohibited by the sanctions?
There are currently seven types of prohibitions:
|Assets (asset freeze)||
Note: asset freezes are not the same as asset seizures. There is no ability to seize assets in the Russia Sanctions Act.
When do these measures end?
- The Russia Sanctions Regulations expire at the close of 17 March 2025.
What other sanctions has New Zealand imposed?
In addition to sanctions imposed under the Russia Sanctions Act, New Zealand implements all sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council in regulations under the United Nations Act 1946.(external link)
The Russia Sanctions Act 2022 and its Regulations must be complied with by:
- All New Zealand citizens no matter where they are in the world.
- All individuals in New Zealand (including those ordinarily resident in New Zealand).
- All businesses and organisations (entities) registered or operating in New Zealand.
We encourage a self-compliance approach so have provided New Zealanders with information and guidance to help you comply.
We also encourage you to report any issues, suspicious activity or suspected breaches, with the confidence that you won’t automatically be penalised, as long as it was not a direct attempt to violate sanctions.
It is a criminal offence to breach a sanction in the Act. For individuals, this is punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $100,000. For an entity, this is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1 million.
We recommend checking the sanctions register for updates regularly, and subscribing to receive notifications when there are updates.
For specific advice regarding your business or activity, we encourage you to seek independent legal advice.