Russia bars entry to 32 New Zealanders in sanctions response

Russia's foreign ministry has slapped New Zealand journalists, officials and an academic with sanctions for supporting what it called the country's "Russophobic agenda."

The political move was announced Saturday.

The list includes New Zealand's Military Secretary to the Minister of Defence, Shane Arndell, and other leading figures in the country's defence force as well as the mayors of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson.

Journalists named include Whena Owen, Matthew Hooton and James Hollings.

The sole academic named was Stephen Hoadley, an associate professor in the faculty of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland.

The sanctions bar the targeted individuals from entering Russia indefinitely, the Russian ministry said.

"Taking into account that Wellington does not intend to abandon its anti-Russian course and continues to produce new restrictions (against Moscow), work on updating the 'black list' will continue," the ministry added.