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Cash not accepted: new prohibition on cash transactions for high value goods

Home Insights Cash not accepted: new prohibition on cash transactions for high value goods

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Contributed by: Tom Hunt and Natasha Young

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Published on: April 26, 2023


A new amendment to the AML/CFT Act 2009 will introduce a significant law change for any person in the business of buying or selling certain high value goods in New Zealand. The change will prohibit all cash sales of certain types of goods with a value of NZ$10,000 or more, and comes into effect on 11 May 2023.

Prohibited cash transactions for specified high value goods

Currently there are AML/CFT Act obligations which apply to high-value dealers who deal in cash transactions equal to or above NZ$10,000. Those transactions are permitted, but the relevant high-value dealers must comply with customer due diligence requirements and other obligations. The Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Act 2023 adds new provisions to the AML/CFT Act which have the effect of prohibiting such transactions altogether.
From 11 May 2023, there will be a complete prohibition on cash transactions for specified high value goods. Any person who is in trade must not buy or sell any of the following high value goods by way of a cash transaction (or series of related cash transactions) of NZ$10,000 or more:

  • jewellery;
  • watches;
  • gold, silver, or other precious metals;
  • diamonds, sapphires, or other precious stones;
  • motor vehicles; or
  • ships.

This means that, instead of having to comply with AML/CFT Act obligations, businesses will no longer be able to accept cash payments of NZ$10,000 or more for the types of goods listed above.
This prohibition also applies to related cash transactions if the total value is NZ$10,000 or more. There are civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with this prohibition.
The Department of Internal Affairs has released guidance which can be found here.
Given how soon this change will come into force, and the potential impact on business operations, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts if you would like to discuss the change, or your regulatory obligations in further detail.

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