The National Government has once again caved in to special interests and has shelved plans to introduce legislation this year that would extend anti-money laundering requirements to lawyers, accountants and real estate agents, Grant Robertson Labour Finance Spokesperson says.
“When the heat was on National earlier this year in the wake of the Panama Papers, John Key committed his government to fast-tracking legislation to widen the groups covered by anti-money laundering provisions. But now with public attention elsewhere he has quietly slammed on the brakes, and it now looks like there will be no change in the rules before the next election.
“It seems that once again National is putting their interests ahead of New Zealand’s. As happened with earlier attempts to tighten the rules on the foreign trust industry that were scuttled by people like John Key’s lawyer, industry insiders are putting pressure on the government to back-off or water down proposals. This is despite the potential damage to New Zealand’s international reputation and the concerns of government officials that we are leaving the door open to corrupt money and individuals.
“In his review of foreign trusts earlier in the year John Shewan called on the government to pass Phase Two of the legislation to extend the requirements by the end of this year. The government rejected that, but promised to introduce the legislation before the end of the year, and pass it by the middle of next year. Now they are making excuses about more consultation and discussion documents.
“The time for talking here is over. We need action to ensure we eliminate New Zealand as a destination for corrupt money and play our part in the international efforts to fight corruption and terrorism.
“National likes to talk a big game on security, but the truth is they are exposing New Zealand here while they attempt to appease special interests. New Zealanders deserve better, “ Grant Robertson said.