Review of Anti-Money Laundering law is underway

The Ministry of Justice is carrying out a statutory review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2013 (Act) to consider:

  • how it has performed since it was introduced in 2013;
  • and what should change.

The Ministry aims to complete this review by the end of June 2022 and provide a report to the Minister.

A Summary Document has been released by the Ministry for feedback. The scope of the statutory review of the Act and its impact on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Finance of Terrorism (AML/CFT) is broad and far-reaching, with the key areas of focus including:

  • Institutional arrangements and stewardship: The Ministry will review the foundations of the Act, including what it aims to achieve, its risk-based approach to preparing regulations and the structure of the regime.  It will also consider if the right agencies and people are involved and whether they have been given the powers they need to carry out their work.
  • Scope of the Act: This involves a review of who should have AML/CFT obligations, including clarifying when international businesses have obligations under the Act.
  • Supervision, regulation, and enforcement: The Ministry will look at how businesses are currently supervised to ensure that they comply with their AML/CFT obligations.  It will see if the offences and penalties in the Act are still appropriate.  In particular, the Ministry would like to explore whether penalties are appropriate for employees, senior managers and the directors of businesses to ensure that people who actually make the decisions in a business can be held responsible.
  • Preventive measures: This section of the review will look at whether the steps the Act currently requires businesses to take (e.g. customer due diligence checks) effectively protect businesses from harm associated with money laundering and financing terrorism.
  • Other issues or topics and minor changes: The Ministry will consider other matters such as the use of technology, including digital identity services, the privacy and protection of information and how to harmonise New Zealand’s AML/CFT regime with Australia’s. 

Underpinning the above, the Ministry recognises that while anti-money laundering laws are important, they may sometimes make things overly challenging for both people and businesses.  This signals that the Ministry’s review will seek to balance a comprehensive and robust AML/CFT regime against identified risk while allowing people and businesses to operate without disproportionately onerous compliance obligations.

Public consultation closes on 3 December 2021 (via online survey or email submission). There will be further targeted consultation with the private sector and communities from February 2022 to April 2022, with the review finishing by 30 June 2022.

If you have any questions about the Act, this review or you would like to make a submission during the consultation period, please get in touch with our Business Advice Team or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry.


Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.



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