magnitsky 09 July 2021

New Zealand MP pushes for autonomous Magnitsky-type sanctions

New Zealand lawmakers will shortly debate legislation which, if passed, would equip New Zealand with the powers to implement sanctions – beyond those mandated by the United Nations – ‘ensuring New Zealand shares the same diplomatic tools and capabilities as its Western counterparts’ according to its sponsor, Gerry Brownlee of the National Party which said in a press release, ‘Mr Brownlee’s Autonomous Sanctions Bill would allow a New Zealand government to impose sanctions on foreign individuals, entities or regimes responsible for situations of international concern.

‘This is a revival of a Government Bill introduced by the National Government in 2017, left on the Order Paper by Labour for three years before being dropped in 2020…Legislation of this kind, also known as Magnitsky-style regimes, exist in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, and were used in a coordinated effort earlier this year to sanction those involved in the Uyghur abuses. New Zealand was unable to join this effort, as we do not have the same legal mechanisms, which are also expected to come before the Australian Parliament this year.’

It continued, ‘New Zealand has always had a strong independent foreign policy outside of forums like the United Nations, which will always be subject to veto powers. We should have the ability to stand with like-minded nations and impose sanctions on actors involved in situations contrary to international law and our values.’

The Autonomous Sanctions Bill says: ‘The measures available to New Zealand under current policy settings are not seen, either here or by our close security partners, as being a sufficient response to situations of real concern in cases where human rights, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, or democratic principles are being violated.’