PROTEST FLOTILA INCLUDING BOATS FROM COROMANDEL HEADING TO HELENA BAY
Written by John Grant on March 4, 2022
The shock of the Ukraine invasion by Russia was felt across the world and as the battle for Ukraine unfolds the outcry and resistance mounts. Many countries have imposed sanctions against Russia and whilst New Zealand has made opposition to the invasion clear they have so far not been able to impose sanctions.
A group of intrepid sailors have decided to take steps to show New Zealand opposition and are hoping this will be picked up by major overseas news media organisations as a means of showing support for Ukraine and opposition to the Putin regime.
The Luxury Lodge in beautiful Helena Bay, Northland is the target for the protest. It is owned by Russian Oligarch Alexander Abramov. Abramov is one of the wealthiest Russian people and is very influential with Putin. He owns Steel company Evraz and has an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion USD.
Whilst countries around the world have been imposing sanctions on Oligarchs which have included freezing assets and travels bans, New Zealand is yet to take any direct action.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta was asked by the Northern Advocate if there was an intention to impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs and if not, why not? In response a Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said “We are unable to provide details on individuals that may come under the sanctions of other countries.
”Aotearoa New Zealand does not have an autonomous sanctions regime, which means we do not have the same ability to freeze assets or restrict the provision of financial services to individuals who are subject to the sanctions of our partners.
”The Government is looking at a range of further measures we can apply, including whether restrictions can be applied to flows of investment into New Zealand by Russian individuals and firms implicated in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
A group of sailors have decided that it’s time to make their opposition heard. Avon Hansford from Whitianga is coordinating the flotilla that will leave on Saturday with Helena Bay the destination.
According to Thomas Everth, one of those sailing with the group, the aim is to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine and to highlight the network of money connections of the Russian oligarchy and their godfather Putin around the world.
The flotilla will likely aim for arrival at Helena Bay towards the end of next week. Some of the yachts and skippers going will have been involved in the Muroroa atomic test peace fleet protests in 1995.
The Coromandel was well represented in the last major peace flotilla with the late John Simpson from Simpsons Beach (Wharekaho) being a prominent part of that protest.