Justice Minister Judith Collins has unveiled a range of law changes to crack down on corruption, organised crime and bribery in New Zealand.
The minister tabled the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill in Parliament this afternoon.
It includes requirements for banks to report international transactions, new identity theft offences, and harsher penalties for private sector bribery and corruption offences.
Mrs Collins said the changes would give law enforcement agencies more power to deal with organised crime and corruption, and would help New Zealand fulfil its international obligations.
“New Zealand is consistently regarded as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. However we cannot afford to be complacent — we must remain vigilant,” she said.
If the bill passed into law, banks and financial institutions would have to help Government detect money-laundering by reporting all international wire transfers of more than $1000 and all physical cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the police’s Financial Intelligence Unit.
Banks must already vet customers who make large wire transfers and report suspicious activity to the police.
For a person to be found guilty of money-laundering, courts would no longer have to prove that the person intended to conceal a transaction.
Amendments would be made to allow police to share personal information (names, fingerprints and criminal record) with other countries’ authorities.
It would not allow DNA to be shared with foreign jurisdictions.
The bill would address gaps in the Crimes Act in relation to identity and passport fraud.
Selling and distributing unlawfully obtained or manufactured identity information, or owning to the tools to fake documents would become a criminal offence.
The bill would remove the requirement for a trafficking victim to cross New Zealand’s border for an offence to be committed.
Penalties for bribery and corruption in the private sector would be increased to bring them into line with public sector offences.
The maximum penalty for these crimes would increase from two years’ jail to seven years’ jail.
The amendments would allow New Zealand to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.