Organised crime laws to be overhauled

Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / NZ Herald
Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / NZ Herald

The Government plans to overhaul laws governing money laundering, identity fraud and international trafficking.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said today that new legislation to attack organised crime would be introduced to Parliament later this year.

The Government would redraft money laundering laws to remove the five-year imprisonment threshold to make prosecutions easier.

Under the changes banks would be required to tell police about all international transfers of more than $1000 and all physical cash transactions of more than $10,000.

The changes would also make it illegal to sell or pass on identity information.

Ms Collins said New Zealand cannot afford to be complacent about organised crime, which she described as a constantly evolving threat.

"Although our Government consistently ranks as the most transparent and least corrupt in the world, we cannot afford to be complacent," Ms Collins said.

"We've done a lot already to fight organised crime, and we've been successful. But it is a constantly evolving threat so we need to be a step ahead legislatively and operationally."

The recommendations will be progressed through an Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Bill.

Key recommendations include:

* Redrafting the money laundering offence to say that intent to conceal is not a requirement of the offence in order to comply with international obligations from the Financial Action Task Force and the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime.

* Making it easier for police to prosecute money laundering by removing the five-year imprisonment threshold from the money laundering offence.

* Requiring banks to report on all international transfers of more than $1000 and all physical cash transactions over $10,000 to the Financial Intelligence Unit within Police under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

* Introducing new offences to address identity crime including, making it an offence to sell or pass on identity information.

* Amending the trafficking offence to remove the requirement to cross borders.

* Developing an anti-corruption strategy for both private and public sectors and ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

- APNZ

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