Ukraine invasion: The number of Russians who have invested their way into New Zealand revealed

As the horrors in Ukraine continue at Russia's hand, the New Zealand Government is about to give itself the tools to impose sanctions on those responsible.

Parliament on Monday pulled together a show of solidarity, by hanging up a piece of Ukrainian art from the vaults. It's a map of New Zealand embroidered in traditional Ukrainian designs and was gifted by the Ukrainian community in 2016.

"We must do everything we can do to stand alongside you. Slava Ukraini," Ardern said at the ceremony, voicing the Ukrainian national salute. 

To stand alongside Ukraine, New Zealand is about to swing the sanction hammer - new law to circumnavigate the United Nations which has been paralysed by Russia's veto power at the Security Council.

"A Bill of this nature has never been brought before our Parliament, but with Russia vetoing UN sanctions we must act ourselves to support Ukraine and our partners in opposition to this invasion," Ardern said at her post-Cabinet press conference. 

The sanctions will be imposed on any person, company or service responsible for or associated with Russia's invasion and can be extended to Belarus which is supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The law will freeze their assets, prevent money being moved here to escape other countries' sanctions, block New Zealand's seas and skies from Russian ships, yachts and planes, and block entry for 100 individuals. 

Top of that list is Putin.

"Russia's assault continues and so must our pressure," Ardern said. 

But experts say we need to tread carefully.

"We mustn't turn to anti-Russian hysteria. Everything must be proved, there must be due process and fairness," says Waikato University Professor Al Gillespie. 

"Just because someone is wealthy and Russian doesn't necessarily mean they're pro-Putin."

There are a lot of wealthy Russians - almost 50 - who have invested their way into New Zealand since 2014.

For the top tier investor visa, applicants have to invest $10 million and spend 88 days across three years in New Zealand.

In 2015, up to five applications were approved. There have been none since. Immigration New Zealand refused to release the exact number for "privacy reasons".

In the second tier, applicants have to invest $3 million and spend 146 days over three years here, and Newshub can reveal 46 Russians have got these visas.

"While the legislation is broad it doesn't mean that someone who is Russian and wealthy will automatically be a target," said Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. 

The law will be passed on Wednesday then next week the first wave of sanctions against banks and individuals already identified by our allies.

The second wave is trickier - working out who has which assets in New Zealand and if they're supporting Putin. That takes more time and digging - potentially even weeks.