8 Sep 2011

NZ moving too slowly to stop fraud - Greens

6:07 am on 8 September 2011

The Green Party says the Ministry of Commerce is working too slowly to stop shell companies in New Zealand being used for international fraud.

Commerce Minister Simon Power says foreigners using New Zealand registered companies to commit money-laundering, tax evasion and fraud have battered the country's reputation as a good place to do business.

The Companies Office has taken steps to remove about 1800 suspected firms and the Government has agreed to make changes to the law.

But Greens co-leader Russel Norman says six suspected front companies are still listed on the Companies Office website.

He accuses the minister of moving too slowly and says the Government must regulate to protect the integrity of the register of companies.

Mr Power says legislation is being drafted and should be ready to be tabled in Parliament before the election.

In July last year, the Cabinet agreed to a number of changes to company registration rules, including a requirement to have at least one New Zealand-resident director or agent.