“As the tragic invasion of the Ukraine shocks the world, it’s time for our Government to take urgent action,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“The Labour Government will go into urgency at the drop of a hat for things that aren’t urgent like allowing prisoners to vote and to pass a Racing Industry Bill - but it won’t go into urgency to pass the Autonomous Sanctions Bill currently before Parliament.

“I asked Jacinda today whether she would go into urgency and she avoided answering the question. She also avoided saying whether she intended to expel the Russian Ambassador from New Zealand, something that should have happened by now.

“This Autonomous Sanctions Bill would allow the Government to impose stronger sanctions, we would be better placed to stand with other liberal democracies against Russia’s aggression.

“ACT is the first to criticise when we unnecessarily go into urgency, but what’s happening in Ukraine truly is urgent and we need to act.

“The Government today has recognised we need stronger sanctions as it looks to pass a Russian specific sanction law at some point in the future. That’s not good enough. It needs to act with urgency.”