Will NZ petrol prices go up because of Venezuela sanctions?

It's too soon to say whether the volatile political situation in Venezuela will cause petrol prices to rise at the pump here.

At least 122 people have been killed in nearly four months of political conflict and violence leading up to the disputed election, which gave the country's ruling party virtually unlimited powers.

The vote, held over the weekend, has led to criticism from the South American country's neighbours, and the United States quickly slapped financial sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro.

Opposition parties boycotted the poll and say their supporters didn't vote.

They say voter turnout was just 12 percent - but Mr Maduro called it the biggest ever vote for revolution and will now rewrite the constitution.

Venezuela is a very large producer of oil, with some of the world's largest reserves.

New Zealand's Automobile Association believes further sanctions that slow the supply coming out of Venezuela could definitely impact on oil prices here.

"And to a certain extent we're actually seeing that now," Mark Stockdale, the AA's Principal Advisor - Regulations, told Newshub.

"Since last year OPEC [the Organization of Petroleum-producing Countries] has had an agreement to actually cut oil production - that's because the OPEC producing countries have been concerned about the low oil prices, and that's having a negative impact on them and their economies.

"And indeed this is one of the reasons why the Venezuelan economy is collapsing, because of low oil prices - which has been their major source of revenue."

Global oil prices have recently been rising thanks to the OPEC production cuts starting to take effect, but it's yet to impact on prices at the pump in this country.

"Usually that would mean that ultimately pump prices could increase as well," Mr Stockdale said.

"[But] it's more complicated than that and fortunately in New Zealand at the moment we're not actually seeing pump prices go up, because the New Zealand dollar has been increasing and that has offset those rises in commodity prices.

"But generally speaking, reducing oil supply and rising oil prices - that's never really good news."

The monetary impact of the current US sanctions isn't immediately clear as Mr Maduro's holdings in American jurisdictions, if he has any, haven't been publicised.

However, imposing sanctions on a head of state is rare and can be symbolically powerful, leading other countries to similarly shun such a leader. 

For example, the US has had sanctions against Syria's President Bashar Assad since 2011.

The move follows through on a US threat of action last week against Mr Maduro and his socialist government if they went ahead with the election.

Newshub. / AP