“The Prime Minister should back up her words about Russia with actions and expel the Russian Ambassador from New Zealand,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“New Zealand is an anti-nuclear country, the Prime Minister herself published an op-ed in The Guardian only a month ago titled “The world stands on a nuclear precipice – we must avoid catastrophe”

“She says: “We are a Pacific nation. Our region bears the scars of decades of nuclear testing, on both the people and the lands and waters of our region. That’s why for 35 years New Zealand has been proudly nuclear-free and an international advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons.”

“If the Prime Minister believes in her words, then she cannot possibly condone having a representative from a nation whose leader is threatening the world with nuclear warfare.

“I asked the Prime Minister on March 1st whether her government would expel the Russian Ambassador in light of the atrocities being committed in Ukraine. She wouldn’t commit to it because “we have to factor in our ability to continue to look after New Zealanders in the region.”

“Keeping him here hasn’t worked though. Vladimir Putin’s threats pose a risk to New Zealanders everywhere and we should not continue any sort of diplomacy with representatives of his administration.

“It is time for actions to back up the Prime Minister’s words. The Russian Ambassador must be expelled.”

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Brooke van Velden