New Zealand's measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing

Mutual Evaluation Report New Zealand-2021

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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) assessed New Zealand's anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system. The report is a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of New Zealand’s measures and their compliance with the FATF Recommendations. This includes an assessment of New Zealand’s actions to address the risks emanating from UN and domestically designated terrorists and terrorist organisations. The report does not address the justification that led to the domestic designation of an entity as a terrorist or terrorist group or organisation.

Paris, 29 April 2021 – New Zealand’s measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing are delivering good results, but the country needs to focus more on improving the availability of beneficial ownership information, strengthening supervision and implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

New Zealand faces money laundering threats from proceeds of crime generated both domestically and internationally. The country’s large scale terrorist financing risks are mainly in relation to overseas-based groups. Using a comprehensive multi-tiered risk assessment process, the country has developed a robust understanding of these money laundering and terrorist financing risks. New Zealand has implemented an AML/CFT system that is effective in many respects.

This includes the effective use of financial intelligence and investigation tools to support money laundering investigations, prosecutions and criminal asset recovery, with a particularly strong focus on restraint and forfeiture of criminal assets. New Zealand is also particularly effective at cooperating with its international partners to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

National AML/CFT policies and activities address New Zealand’s money laundering and terrorist financing risks to a substantial extent. However, measures to stop money laundering in the non-financial sector are new and businesses need to better understand and mitigate their risks. New Zealand’s three AML/CFT supervisors have a good understanding of the money laundering and terrorist financing risk profiles of their respective sectors, but there is scope to improve the use of effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. Supervision of the banking sector in particular needs greater resourcing.
New Zealand has taken steps to mitigate the money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with legal persons and arrangements, but those could be undermined by loopholes regarding beneficial ownership and nominee directors and shareholders.

New Zealand’s authorities remain alert to funds being used for domestic terrorist attacks following the Christchurch attack on March 2019. New Zealand’s investigations of terrorist financing have been thorough, quick, and well-coordinated. But there are gaps in New Zealand’s implementation of targeted financial sanction measures.

The FATF adopted this report at its February 2021 Plenary meeting.

Download the report:

Mutual Evaluation Report New Zealand-2021  

Executive Summary-MER New Zealand 2021  


More information:  

FATF Recommendations

Methodology for assessing technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations and the Effectiveness of AML/CFT Systems

Consolidated table of assessment ratings - pdf format an overview of ratings that assessed countries obtained for effectiveness and technical compliance.