The new Registrar of Companies has signalled a crackdown on dodgy shell companies that take advantage of New Zealand’s reputation for clean business.
Low-profile public servant Mandy McDonald took over from the long-serving Neville Harris earlier this month and in one of her first speaking engagements, at the Corporate Registries Forum in Auckland, said New Zealand had to be vigilant in protecting its reputation.
“Over the past decade we have taken pride in our consistently high World Bank rankings for ease of starting a business and ease of doing business. For a small and distant nation, this remains an important aspect of attracting foreign investment,” she said.
“There have been cases of the misuse of New Zealand-registered companies, leveraging off the good reputation that the New Zealand corporate regulatory regime enjoys internationally.”
McDonald said the Companies and Limited Partnership Bill, awaiting its third reading in Parliament, would give regulators more teeth to investigate suspect companies. The Bill would also require all New Zealand-registered companies to reveal their ultimate owners and have a local director who would be required to disclose their date and place of birth.
“The Bill provides the New Zealand corporate registries system with effective tools to maintain its integrity and deal with those who seek to take advantage of it,” she said.
The forum, a gathering of company registries from 41 countries, finishes on Friday.
McDonald has previously served as general manager of the Insolvency and Trustee Service and has worked as a deputy secretary in the ministries of health, justice and defence.
During his 24-year tenure, her predecessor Harris oversaw the transition of the Companies Office online, a process that began in 1996, and the implementation of the Personal Properties Securities Register in 2002.
McDonald also became the Official Assignee and the Commissioner of Patents, Trademarks, Designs and Plant Variety Types.
Source: Fairfax NZ News. Story by Matt Nippert. Published 12/03/13