Tuesday, March 22, 2022


After years of foot-dragging, the government will finally implement a public beneficial ownership register:

Cabinet has agreed to push for a public beneficial ownership register - effectively pulling back the veil of corporate secrecy and requiring companies to declare who they truly act for - following years of pressure by transparency advocates and multilateral bodies.

MBIE had proposed such a register in 2018, with public consultation taking place that year, before the reform apparently stalled.

But a change of government, two changes of minister, international scandals, a multilateral body earlier this month requiring members - including New Zealand - to implement such a register, and four years later, Commerce Minister David Clark this morning said Cabinet had agreed to introduce legislation by the end of the year.

There may be devils in the details - will it apply to trusts, for example? - but this is a good move, which will help narrow the space for tax cheats, criminals, and oligarchs to hide their stolen wealth. The sooner it is passed and implemented, the better.