New Zealand's government has announced a ban on Russian gold imports as part of its sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine war, said a senior official.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said her country does not want to become a safe haven for Russian assets, according to a statement issued by her ministry late Monday.
The ban will come into effect from July 25.
"Today's decision further signals New Zealand's condemnation of Russia's flagrant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty," said Mahuta.
"It also supports international efforts to ensure Russia does not circumvent international sanctions by leveraging its immense gold reserves to finance its illegal war," she added.
According to New Zealand Trade and Export Minister Growth Damien O'Connor, the decision aims to prevent the Kremlin from relying on gold holdings to prop up the ruble, as Moscow's financial system is already cut off from international markets.
"Russia's Central Bank holds extensive gold reserves, estimated to be worth up to US$140bn. Twenty percent of the Russian Central Bank's reserves are held in gold. Under the Russia Sanctions Act, we are making it illegal for New Zealanders to import gold of Russian origin," said Damien O'Connor.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a ban on Russian gold imports, but the move only applies to Russian-origin gold, not gold located outside of Russia.