Russia’s foreign ministry has slapped New Zealand journalists, officials and an academic with sanctions for supporting what it called the country’s “Russophobic agenda”.
The political move was announced Saturday.
The list includes New Zealand’s Military Secretary to the Minister of Defence, Shane Arndell, and other leading figures in the country’s defence force as well as the mayors of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson.
Journalists named include Whena Owen, Matthew Hooton and James Hollings.
The sole academic named was Stephen Hoadley, an associate professor in the Faculty of Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland.
The sanctions bar the targeted individuals from entering Russia indefinitely, the Russian ministry said.
“Taking into account that Wellington does not intend to abandon its anti-Russian course and continues to produce new restrictions (against Moscow), work on updating the ‘black list’ will continue,” the ministry added.
In April, Russia announced an earlier blacklist of politicians from New Zealand, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
I regret to inform you that I appear to have been banned from Russia 🇷🇺
There goes that Trans Siberian Railway fantasy.https://t.co/2bgNYYTjeE
— Aaron Hawkins For Mayor (@A_G_Hawkins) July 30, 2022
Nelson mayoral candidate ‘proud’
Nelson councillor and mayoral hopeful Matt Lawrey was among those named, and said he was flattered to be banned from Russia, and had been getting congratulated for it all day.
He understood that he was included for organising two public rallies in Nelson that were held in support of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
He said he was pleased the Russian embassy had been taking note of the positive things being done in Nelson to support the people of Ukraine.
“I have to say it all makes the Russian government look a little bit desperate … it does kind of reek of desperation,” Lawrey said.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ. This incorporates news agency reporting.