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New Zealand is very open to overseas money transfers and investment. Today, the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) floats freely and there are no currency restrictions transferring money to New Zealand to sending money from New Zealand.
The government introduced currency controls in 1938 at a time when foreign assets were being rapidly withdrawn from domestic banks. Despite the disapproval of the Reserve Bank, the government kept a tight lid on the foreign exchange market for decades, including import controls and export licensing requirements; at one point, all foreign currency assets were required to be offered for sale to the central bank, in order to prevent further loss of foreign currency reserves.
However, the policy proved ineffective, and the foreign exchange market was entirely liberalised in 1985. New Zealand received an influx of foreign investment and its interest rates rose to competitive levels on the foreign exchange market. Today, the NZD has no restrictions, although transfers of over NZD10,000 must be declared.
The countrys central bank, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, manages monetary policy and regulates the financial system, including direct oversight of the banking sector. The Financial Markets Authority, an independent agency created in 2011 under the Ministry of Commerce, regulates securities exchanges and a variety of financial service providers, including financial advisers, brokers, securities issuers and trustee companies. All service providers must register with the FMA, which ensures that companies adhere to securities, financial reporting and corporate laws. Currency exchanges and other financial institutions not covered by these entities are overseen by the Department of Internal Affairs.
The Reserve Bank, FMA and Department of Internal Affairs jointly share the responsibility of implementing the 2009 Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act. Under this Act, agencies are required to report any suspicious activity and record customer information for all money transfers over the threshold of NZD1,000. When sending money to and from New Zealand, we recommend relying exclusively on FMA-registered firms.
The NZD was involved in 2% of the global foreign exchange trade volume in April 2013, according the Bank for International Settlements.
In March 2014, China moved to allow direct currency exchanges between the renminbi and the NZD, making it the sixth currency after the USD, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Russian ruble and Malaysian ringgit. Previously, exchanges had to be made via a third currency, typically USD.
Foreign income earned by New Zealand residents is subject to standard tax rates, regardless of whether or not it is repatriated. Non-residents are subject to taxes only in the case of local business activities. Non-residents passive income from New Zealand is subject to domestic withholding taxes, except in the case of bilateral tax agreements, which generally reduce rates to 0-15% for dividends, down from 0-30%, and from 15% on both interest and royalties to 10%.
New Zealand has signed double taxation agreements with 39 countries, although recent treaty amendments with Belgium, Canada and Malaysia have still not taken force. The terms of trade treaties vary, so the exact exemptions should be confirmed by reference to the relevant agreement. There are few restrictions on foreign property ownership, with the exception of sensitive land, business assets worth more than NZ$100m, or fishing quotas.
The national currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). The Reserve Bank is the sole manufacturer and supplier of banknotes, which are printed in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
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