The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Bill is now before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee with submissions due by 6 August 2009.
The Bill began life under the previous Government but is driven by New Zealand’s international obligations so has broadly bi-partisan political support. Multilateral coordination of efforts to eradicate money-laundering (and to ostracise countries which are complacent about it) has for many years been led through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of which New Zealand is one of 32 country members (and has been since 1991).
In 2003 the FATF reviewed New Zealand’s compliance with international obligations to combat money laundering/terrorist financing and found our law, principally the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996, wanting in view of the FATF’s 40 Recommendations adopted in 2003. The Bill – designed to complement the new Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 which also targets money-laundering – is intended to enhance Know Your Customer and financial record-keeping requirements, provide new civil and criminal penalties for failures to do so, and enhance the enforcement powers of certain public supervisory bodies, including the Department for Internal Affairs, the Securities Commission and the Financial Intelligence Unit of the New Zealand Police.