New anti-money laundering laws introduced

A Bill to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing has been introduced to Parliament by Justice Minister Amy Adams.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill will bolster New Zealand’s existing anti-money laundering laws, which help protect businesses and make it harder for criminals to profit from and fund illegal activities, says Adams in a media release.

“This puts in place the second phase of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT), which we fast-tracked work on last year.”

“Money laundering allows criminals to fund their lifestyle and it fuels re-investment in criminal ventures. Extending the law will improve our ability to prevent, detect and prosecute many types of criminal activity and help protect New Zealand’s reputation as a good place to do business.”

The Amendment Bill extends the Act to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, and sports and racing betting. Businesses that deal in certain high value goods, including motor vehicles, jewellery and art, will also have obligations under the Act when they accept or make large cash transactions.

 Adams says the Bill strikes the right balance between combating crime, minimising the cost of compliance and meeting international obligations.

“It is estimated that the reforms in this Bill could disrupt up to $1.7 billion in fraud and drug crime over the next 10 years. Estimates also suggest they may prevent up to $5 billion in broader criminal activity and reduce about $800 million in social harm related to the illegal drug trade. 

“Over the past several months, we have worked with affected sectors to better understand how the changes will impact their businesses and refined options to help them meet their obligations. This has significantly reduced the predicted compliance costs – the initial estimate of up to $1.6 billion over 10 years has been lowered to between $800 million and $1.1 billion.”

Businesses will have a period of time to prepare for the changes. The Government will provide guidance and information to help businesses understand, prepare for and comply with the law.