Company registration bill passes first reading

Craig Foss
24 July, 2012

A Bill aimed at tightening the criteria for company registration passed its first reading in parliament today, says Commerce Minister Craig Foss.

The Companies and Limited Partnerships Amendment Bill requires every company registered in New Zealand to have an NZ-resident agent who will be held responsible if the company fails to comply with its reporting and record-keeping obligations.

"The government is committed to maintaining the ease at which people can set-up a company, while also sending a warning to anyone who sets out to abuse the registration process," says Mr Foss.

The Bill will also enable the Registrar of Companies to take stronger action against those who persistently or seriously fail to comply with companies law.

Criminal offences will be introduced for directors who commit a serious breach of their duties.

"New Zealand has one of the most red-tape free company registration systems in the world," says Mr Foss. "However, we are aware that certain overseas-based companies take advantage our system to run questionable operations."

"This Bill aims to strike a balance between deterring activities that threaten the integrity of our company registration system, and maintaining our reputation as one of the best places in the world to do business.

"Tightening company registration requirements will further build on the government's work in the areas of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist funding," says Mr Foss.

The Companies and Limited Partnerships Amendment Bill has been referred to the Commerce Committee for consideration.