The Government is targeting New Zealand-linked Russian billionaire oligarch Alexander Abramov in its latest raft of sanctions following Russia's war in Ukraine.
The sanctions on Abramov, co-founder and former chief executive of multinational steel manufacturing and mining company Evraz, come on the heels of deadly Russian missile strikes across at least 14 regions in Ukraine.
Fifty-one oligarchs, including Abramov, have been targeted through the new sanctions, alongside 24 Russian-backed office holders in newly annexed areas of Ukraine.
There were also new bans on exports and imports of luxury goods like New Zealand wine and seafood and Russian vodka and caviar, as well as products like oil and gas.
Imports between Russia and New Zealand had reduced by 75 per cent since April when sanctions were enforced.
Abramov owns a $50 million lodge in Northland's Helena Bay. In March, a Peace Flotilla comprised of yachts, dinghies and kayaks converged on the luxury property to urge one of Russia's wealthiest men to put pressure on President Vladimir Putin to end the war.
Abramov and his immediate family members would be subjected to a travel ban, and their aircraft and vessels would be banned from entering New Zealand airspace and ports.
It was understood Abramov was not currently in New Zealand and had not been since at least 2020.
In May, Mahuta confirmed the Government was considering sanctioning Abramov but had to assess the impact on New Zealanders.
Mahuta today said "extensive advice" had been taken before deciding to sanction Abramov.
"I have factored in his connections to the local economy and the impact that applying full sanctions would have on small businesses and livelihoods connected with his business interests," she said.
"If full sanctions were applied, the disruption felt by New Zealanders is likely to be greater than that felt by Mr Abramov himself, who does not live here and only has a small proportion of his wealth invested in New Zealand.
"The intention of our sanctions is to exert pressure on Russia, not punish innocent New Zealanders. We hope that the considered actions we are taking will encourage Mr Abramov to voice concerns about Russia's war on Ukraine."
She could not be specific regarding how many New Zealanders could be impacted, but it was understood the number could be in the 100s.
She noted the difficulty of gaining "full visibility" of Abramov's business ties in New Zealand and as such, admitted the impact of sanctions couldn't be completely known.
"None of those domestic links here in New Zealand, as far as we can ascertain, mean that those people are sending money to Russia, they are not," she said.
"Evraz is included because there is a potential link to Russia."
Evraz produced more than 25 per cent of all Russian railway wheels and almost all of Russia's rail lines, according to Mahuta.
While Mahuta was confident the sanctions met the threshold outlined in the Russia Sanctions Act, she acknowledged Abramov could take legal action.
She confirmed further sanctions for Abramov were still on the table.
Asked why a travel ban hadn't been introduced sooner given it had been considered since March when Russian sanctions were first announced, Mahuta said sanctions couldn't have been implemented without assessing the domestic impact.
Regarding the Russian ambassador to New Zealand, Mahuta again stated his potential expulsion was under active consideration but was not the "most important decision" currently.
"We are mindful of the high potential of reciprocal decisions were we to make a decision around that," she said.
Mahuta also referenced the "high prospect" of New Zealand not recovering the body of Dominic Abelen, the New Zealand Defence Force member who died fighting Russian forces while on leave from the Defence Force.
She did not answer whether she had been advised if any other Defence Force members could be in Ukraine.