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Cracking Down On Shell Companies

Legislation toughening up laws in the wake of New Zealand registered companies being used as shells for money laundering and other illegal activities has been sent to select committee.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss said the Companies and Limited Partnerships Amendment Bill would make it more difficult to use companies for illegal use.

The bill will make changes to the way companies are registered and would require any company or limited partnership formed in New Zealand to have a resident agent who will have to ensure documents and other requirements are met.

Foss said the bill would also create criminal liabilities for directors who fail to perform their duties.

Foss said the companies office had already struck off a number of New Zealand registered companies being used for illegal activities and these changes would make it easier.

Labour Party MP Clayton Cosgrove said his party would support the bill to at least select committee and it could well be needed because of the use of New Zealand companies as shell companies to run money laundering and ponzi schemes.

A number of other MPs including Green co-leader Russel Norman criticised the Government for it slowness in acting and not going far enough in this bill.

The Green Party called for a party vote on the first reading, but no one voted against it and it was recorded as progressing on a voice vote to be considered by the commerce committee.

MPs began the first reading debate of the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.

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