We have minimised and reduced harm

Protecting people and communities from gambling harm

We supported communities and minimised harm through a focus on reducing problem gambling. The Gambling Act 2003 requires staff at gambling venues to take all reasonable steps to identify actual or potential problem gamblers and to offer assistance in line with their harm minimisation policy.

We take these responsibilities seriously. In March 2019, we successfully laid charges against the manager of a gambling venue for failing to take all reasonable steps to identify a problem gambler. This was the first prosecution of its kind in New Zealand and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting people and communities from gambling harm. It also serves as a reminder to everyone working in gambling venues across New Zealand that operators must take their harm minimisation role seriously.

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During the 2018 calendar year, $346.4 million was returned to local communities through Class 4 gambling proceeds.

All domestic gambling operators also pay a problem gambling levy which funds measures to promote health by preventing and minimising harm from gambling, services to treat and assist problem gambling, and independent research and evaluation.

Anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)

The Department reduces harm to businesses and the public by helping businesses to protect themselves from money laundering and terrorism financing under the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

The Act was expanded in 2017 to include ‘gatekeeper’ professions. Lawyers and conveyancers were introduced in July 2018, accountants in October 2018 and real estate agents in January 2019. High value dealers and the New Zealand Racing Board are the final new sectors with obligations from August 2019.

During the year, the Department has supported the newly regulated sectors to understand and meet their obligations by:

  • developing online resources and delivering roadshow presentations at 14 locations around New Zealand, with more than 3,300 lawyers, accountants and real estate agents attending events. We worked in collaboration with the New Zealand Police and the relevant professional bodies to make sure the content met the needs of the sector and the AML/CFT system
  • monitoring entities’ compliance and responding to numerous queries from the newly regulated entities
  • working with a training specialist to create and deliver training and support material to help businesses fulfil their AML/CFT obligations and address some technical knowledge gaps.

Following the Christchurch terror attacks, we reminded supervised businesses of their role in detecting and deterring the financing of terrorism. We work closely with the Financial Intelligence Unit to update the National Risk Assessment.

Making the digital world a safer place for New Zealanders

We are working to make the digital world a safer place for New Zealanders by staying ahead of the evolving digital environment, collaborating with local and global partners and targeting responses to digital safety threats based on risk and intelligence.

We continued our tough stance to combat the trade in child sexual abuse images by making it difficult for people to access this material.

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During the year, we executed search warrants and production orders, shared intelligence with other agencies, and laid charges against offenders involved in the distribution, making, and possession of child sexual abuse imagery.

This resulted in three formal warnings and 12 prosecutions. Twelve offenders were sentenced.

In October 2018, 22 charges were laid against an individual who was sentenced to over six years’ imprisonment for sharing objectionable child sexual abuse material. This is the longest sentence ever handed down for this type of crime in New Zealand and emphasises the Government’s commitment to protecting New Zealanders from harm.

As part of our focus on making the digital world safer we have issued educational anti-spam guidelines, delivered a range of warnings under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act, and have begun High Court proceedings against an association believed to be in breach of the Act.

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