In June the Government introduced an omnibus Bill aimed at strengthening the law to combat organised crime and corruption. A copy of the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill is available here.

Once enacted, the Bill will bring New Zealand into line with international best practice as set by the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Some of the provisions included in the Bill will impact on some businesses’ compliance requirements. These include:

  • amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 to require reporting entities to report all international wire transfers over $1,000 and all physical cash transactions over $10,000 to the Police’s Financial Intelligence Unit; and

  • an amendment to the Companies Act requiring particulars of any “facilitation” transactions and payments for “routine government actions” (which are carved out from the Crimes Act provisions dealing with bribery of foreign public officials) to be recorded in a company’s accounting records.

Other measures of note in the Bill include measures to:

  • improve the effectiveness of New Zealand’s money laundering offences by clarifying that intent to conceal is not necessary to prove a money laundering offence. It also removes the requirement that the offence from which proceeds are derived must be punishable by imprisonment of five years or more;

  • bring the foreign bribery offence into line with international recommendations (this includes clarifying the circumstances in which a company is liable for foreign bribery);

  • increase the penalties for bribery and corruption in the private sector, to bring them into line with public sector bribery;

  • extend the company director disqualification provisions to corruption and bribery offences under the Crimes Act.

With Parliament’s last sitting day scheduled for 31 July, it is unlikely that there will be any further progress made on this Bill until after the general election this year.