Wellington: The New Zealand government is strengthening its efforts to clamp down on money laundering and terrorism financing, making it easier for small businesses and consumers to comply, Justice Minister Kiri Allan said on Monday.
“Our country is a safe place to do business, but we want to do as much as possible to disrupt the criminal economy, and improve how we detect, deter and eliminate money laundering,” Xinhua news agency quoted Allan as saying.
New Zealand is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which also makes it more attractive for international money-launderers, the Minister said, adding money laundering can threaten the country’s international reputation.
She cited an evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force last year which found New Zealand was a highly effective international partner contributing to foreign investigations and tenaciously pursuing money laundering globally.
The government is now introducing changes aimed at improving the regime, following a review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act, she said.
The review also forms part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry in response to the March 15 attacks in 2019 in which a gunman killed 51 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
“The act disrupts serious and organized crime, as well as terrorism, by imposing obligations on businesses that provide specific financial and non-financial services, known as reporting entities,” Allan said.
These obligations require reporting entities to assess their money laundering and terrorism financing risks, identify and know their customers, report suspicious activities and transactions, and maintain various records, the Minister added.