New Zealand will not recognise the result of today's referendum on the status of Crimea, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.

"This referendum has been organised hastily, under the threat of force, and without any prior efforts to consult or negotiate a settlement consistent with the Constitution of Ukraine," he said.

The Moscow-backed referendum in the strategic Black Sea peninsula centres on the region splitting from the Ukraine.

The current situation in the Crimea represents an unjustified threat to the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Mr McCully said.


"It is disappointing that efforts in the UN Security Council to encourage the delay of the referendum are not being heeded.

"New Zealand strongly supports the right of citizens to determine their own future. However this should be done in an environment that is free and fair, and in accordance with accepted democratic principles," Mr McCully said.

"New Zealand has consistently called for steps to de-escalate the current tensions. Proceeding with the referendum under current circumstances runs directly counter to that objective."