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Urgent money laundering crackdown post Panama Papers seems to have slowed

Urgent action to stop New Zealand being seen as a tax haven seems to have slowed down, 1 NEWS reports exclusively.

The Government promised it would fast-track anti-money laundering laws by mid next year in the wake of revelations from the Panama Papers leak about tax evasion and money laundering.

The government originally promised changes by the end of the year in the wake of revelations from the Panama Papers about tax evasion and money laundering. Source: 1 NEWS

"It will happen. It's got a much higher priority. We will do it as soon as we can," Prime Minister John Key said. 

But plans to include real estate agents and lawyers in the new rules now appear to be on a go-slow.

Tax expert John Shewan recommended real estate agents and lawyers should have to confirm their customers' identities, like banks and casinos do.

And in June he said it should happen by the end of this year. 

"It's my view that they need beefing up in order for us to be satisfied that there are not illegal funds coming in," Mr Shewan said. 

The Government said that timeframe was too difficult, but promised it would happen by the middle of next year.

"I think you will find there will be quite a lot off screaming from those sectors," Mr Key said.

Perhaps the screaming has already started, because officials are now working on a discussion paper for those sectors, but Labour is worried. 

"Nobody should be getting a free pass here and at the moment the Government seems to be giving into vested interests," said Grant Robertson, Labour's finance spokesperson.

1 NEWS also understands there are concerns that only property sellers details will be required, not buyers'. 

"It's quite clear that when the blow torch was on the Government around the Panama Papers they tried to say they were going to do something. But actions speak louder than words here and the Government has done nothing," Mr Robertson said. 

Justice Minister Amy Adams wouldn't comment on camera, but she says the Government still intends to pass the law changes next year.