New Zealand suspends political contact with Myanmar, implements travel ban on its military leaders

New Zealand is making a series of "fundamental changes" to its relationship with Myanmar following a military coup that has sparked mass protests and allegations of human rights abuses.

Last week, the south-east Asian nation's army generals seized power, detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi and many of her colleagues, and alleged her landslide election victory last November was a fraud.

The coup has not gone down well with Myanma, tens of thousands of whom have taken to the streets in the last few days to denounce the country's military leaders and call for Suu Kyi's immediate release.

On Tuesday afternoon, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta expressed "deep concern" at the coup and announced New Zealand would join the chorus of countries calling for a special session at the UN's Human Rights Council.

She also revealed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) would be implementing a swathe of "fundamental changes" to its relationship with Myanmar.

"We do not recognise the legitimacy of the military-led government and we call on the military to immediately release all detained political leaders and restore civilian rule," she said.

"As a result of these concerns, New Zealand is suspending all high-level political and military contact with Myanmar. I have also directed that New Zealand's aid programme to Myanmar should not include projects that are delivered with, or benefit, the military government.

"The Government has also agreed to implement a travel ban, to be formalised in the coming week, on Myanmar's military leaders."

New Zealand has joined the likes of Australia, the US and China in denouncing the actions of Myanmar's military-led government, backing their calls for a UN Human Rights Council session that would allow foreign powers to raise concerns about coup and its impact on human rights.

"The rule of law and the democratic will of the people of Myanmar must be respected," Mahuta said.

"Along with our partners in the international community, New Zealand is closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar. We welcome the statements of the G7 and the United Nations Security Council condemning the military's seizure of power."