The New Zealand Bankers' Association has expressed its support for Justice Minister Judith Collin's anti-corruption bill to deter domestic and international organised crime. The proposed new law would require banks to report international wire transfers of more than $1,000. The association said the bill can help maintain New Zealand's reputation overseas.
Collins' Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill would force banks to report not only wire transfers exceeding $1,000 but also physical transactions of $10,000 or more. Banks are required to provide the information to the police financial intelligence unit.
Bank Association Chief Executive Kirk Hope said organised crime is "not a major issue" in New Zealand but believes it is important to look at the bigger picture. He agrees that organised crime needs a global response. The new anti-corruption bill will ensure that New Zealand will contribute its share in the international effort to address serious organised crime.
Hope said bank customers will not mind the sharing of information since they are already used to banks collecting customer data. He said the banking sector will help the government see through the passage of the bill.
Aside from organised crime, the bill will also make it unlawful to sell or pass on identity information. It will also increase the penalties for corruption and bribery.
According to Collins, her bill will give New Zealand authorities "sharper teeth." She said the country is regarded as one of the least corrupt nations in the world. The justice minister believes New Zealand can't afford to be complacent now.
Reports said the anti-corruption bill will not be passed before the election.
Collins said the passage of the bill is in line with the New Zealand government's unrelenting commitment to prevent organised crime and corruption. She said the country has to maintain its reputation as one of the least corrupt countries, as reported by Transparency International.
The proposed bill will also strengthen human trafficking laws and include people-smuggling in New Zealand. The anti-corruption bill will amend the Policing Act 2008 to provide authorities with the power to share information with international counterparts.