Parliament has unanimously passed reforms to strengthen the existing Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“Money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a global issue with serious consequences. It is blight on society that undermines the hard work of legitimate businesses by allowing criminals to fund their lifestyles and fuel re-investment into criminal activities,” says Ms Adams.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill extends the current AML/CFT regime to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, sports and racing betting and businesses that deal in certain high value goods.
“Extending the regime to these sectors will strengthen our ability to prevent, detect and prosecute many types of criminal activity. It is estimated these reforms will disrupt up to $1.7 billion of fraud and drug crime, prevent up to $5 billion in broader criminal activity, and reduce social harm by $800 million over ten years,” says Ms Adams
“This Bill will help prevent New Zealand being used by international criminals to launder money, and help protect our hard fought reputation as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world and a good place to do business.”
New Zealand’s AML/CFT regime is scheduled to be evaluated by the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) in 2020. This Bill will assist our preparation for the evaluation by FATF in 2020.
Ms Adams says the Bill strikes the right balance between combating crime, minimising the cost of compliance and meeting international obligations.
Businesses will have a period of time to prepare for the changes. The Government will provide guidance and information to help them understand, prepare for and comply with the law.