“Starting a business is brave and involves taking huge risks. We understand the pressures that business owners are under and want to create sensible, practical policies which support them.

“Today we announce a package of policies for Small Business, led by a commitment to deal with prohibitively expensive, frustrating, and ineffective AML compliance.

“Anti money laundering (AML) regulations have been described as the world’s least effective policy experiment, with compliance costs possibly to the order of 100 times higher than the amount of laundered money seized. The laws were created with casinos and banks in minds but has since been widened to include smaller businesses who don’t have dedicated compliance teams and are put in a difficult position to comply within strict deadlines and face major fines for delays. ACT would implement a more risk-based approach, tailored to the size, nature, and risk level of various entities.

“Specifically, with regard to AML, ACT would:

  • Reduce compliance costs associated with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act
  • Provide clear guidelines on how to comply with the legislation instead of a wait-to-prosecute approach
  • Simplify customer due diligence processes for low-risk customers or transactions, including relaxed rules for low-risk trusts
  • Allow reporting entities to certify the identity, source of wealth, and source of funds for clients with whom they have an established relationship
  • Allow scanned copies to be accepted
  • Extend timeframes for small businesses to submit reports to Police

“Cutting through AML red tape is one example of ACT’s approach. Too many rules are created by bureaucrats in Wellington who don’t have a proper understanding of what impact they have. To them it’s just words on a form, to the business owner having to comply it is time and money spent on something that might not be doing anyone any good. ACT’s Minister and Ministry for Regulations would get rid of unnecessary regulations and prevent more from being added.

“Since Labour came to power it has added expense after added expense for small business owners. Increases in minimum wage, so called “fair pay” agreements, another public holiday, the end of 90 day trials - how are businesses meant to grow when the Government is inflicting more costs on them at every opportunity?

“Labour thinks they’re helping employees with these but they’ve made it harder for them to be hired in the first place. We’ve all seen the emptied shopfronts and ‘lease’ signs that have become so prevalent over Labour’s term.

“Take 90-day trials for example, they gave employers the opportunity to take a chance on workers they wouldn’t otherwise. Young or low-skilled workers, or people who have been out work, have the most to gain from being employed on a trial basis. ACT will bring them back for all businesses.

“’Fair pay’ agreements amount to compulsory unionism that will reduce productivity and make it harder for employers to grow their businesses. ACT will get rid of them immediately.

“It is the same with the minimum wage, a policy that seems kind but is the opposite in reality. In 2022 MBIE advised the Government to go slower in raising the minimum wage and estimated that thousands fewer jobs would be created because of the rapid increase in the level of the minimum wage.

“ACT will reverse these anti-business policies. We’ll create an environment for investment by making it easier to access credit and easier to build and develop.

“ACT will welcome foreign direct investment from friendly OECD nations, we’ll make it easier to access credit under the CCCFA, and we’ll make sure investment goes further by making it easier to develop new business premises and logistics infrastructure. This is what is required to support greater levels of productivity, jobs, and higher incomes.

“ACT has employers’ backs. We will fight on their behalf for more sensible, sustainable economic policies so they can grow their businesses and employ more New Zealanders.”

Policy document is found here.

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