Russia bans entry to 32 New Zealanders in response to sanctions

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The Russian Foreign Ministry has slapped New Zealand journalists, officials and an academic with sanctions for supporting what it called the country’s “Russophobic agenda”.

The Russian Kremlin, Moscow
Photo: 123rf/ Cezary Wojtkowski

The political movement was announced Saturday.

The list includes New Zealand’s military secretary to the defense minister, Shane Arndell, and other leading figures in the country’s defense forces, as well as the mayors of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson.

Journalists named include Whena Owen, Matthew Hooton and James Hollings.

The only academic named was Stephen Hoadley, an associate professor at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Politics and International Relations.

The sanctions bar the targeted individuals from entering Russia indefinitely, the Russian ministry said.

“In view of the fact that Wellington has no intention of abandoning its anti-Russian course and continues to produce new restrictions (against Moscow), the work of updating the “black list” will continue”, added the ministry.

In April, Russia announced an earlier blacklist of New Zealand politicians, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Mayor of Nelson ‘proud’ to have been included to help support the people of Ukraine

Nelson’s councilor and mayoral candidate Matt Lawrey was among those named and said he was flattered to be banned from Russia and had been praised for it all day.

He understood he had been included for organizing two public rallies in Nelson that took place in support of Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

He said he was delighted that the Russian Embassy took note of the positive steps taken in Nelson to support the Ukrainian people.

“I have to say that all of this makes the Russian government look a bit desperate…it smacks of desperation,” Lawrey said.

-Reuters with additional reports from RNZ

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