New effort to stop rinsing cash laudable – Editorial One

Issue 411 March 15, 2019

The New Zealand Government should move fast and regulate cash proceeds among buyers and sellers of a vast variety of goods, accepting the recommendations of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

The Department has suggested thresholds for cash payments on a number of deals, including buying and selling of cars, motorcycles, jewellery, art and a host of other items with effect from August 1, 2019. The Justice Ministry has endorsed those recommendations, which now await approval of the State Cabinet.

The thresholds are expected to be set at $5000, $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the value of the items traded.

Fighting launderers and terrorists

Money Laundering and Terrorism have become a major menace, threatening the peace and security of countries, obliging governments to exercise greater control over movement of funds, especially cash. It is an irony that as the world gets closer and more liberal in movement of goods and people, cash transactions have to come under stringent regulations.

There is therefore a need to curtain the flow of cash across borders.

Already, New Zealand rules do not permit foreign exchange companies to accept cash on any currency and obliges customers to use only their credit or debit cards, in addition to providing an acceptable ID. Extending this stricture to trade deals should not therefore pose any problem.

Dizzying fines

Governments keen to crack down on money-laundering are increasingly slapping financial firms with dizzying fines for failing to spot suspicious transactions or for overlooking anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations. These rules are multiplying.

We are not immune

The government has said that money laundering continues to exist in New Zealand that the annual rinsing is of the order of $1.35 billion.

A National Risk Assessment Report has said that New Zealand is not immune to terrorists and fraudsters and that despite being a safe country, crime flourishes through money laundering and terrorism financing and harm communities.

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