Company registration changes welcomed

  • Craig Foss

Commerce Minister Craig Foss today welcomed the select committee report on the Companies and Limited Partnerships Amendment Bill. The Bill tightens New Zealand’s companies and limited partnerships registration regime to address misuse by overseas entities.

“I want to acknowledge the Commerce Select Committee’s comprehensive work in reviewing the draft legislation and considering views on the proposed changes to our company and limited partnerships laws.

“Our company incorporation processes are some of the best in the world, and important in growing New Zealand’s economy. However, there are those that would exploit this for questionable purposes.

“This Bill, together with the changes recommended by the select committee, will strengthen our company registration regime and enable stronger enforcement action against those that misuse it, while maintaining our reputation as one of the easiest places in the world to do business,” says Mr Foss.

Key changes to the Bill as reported back are:

  • All New Zealand-registered companies must have a director who lives in New Zealand, or who lives in and is a director of a company in a country with which New Zealand has reciprocal arrangements for the enforcement of low-level criminal fines.
  • Date and place of birth information for directors of companies and partners of limited partnerships will be required and kept by the Registrar.
  • The name and details of who ultimately controls a company will be required by the Registrar.
  • The Registrar will be able to require information from companies and limited partnerships. The registration provisions in the Bill will come into effect six months after it receives royal assent, rather than the 12 months originally proposed.

The Committee has also recommended further consideration be given to the drafting of new offences in the Bill relating to serious breaches of director’s duties. These issues would be considered as part of a Supplementary Order Paper.

“I’m advised that there will be minimal additional cost, because most New Zealand companies already satisfy these requirements,” says Mr Foss.