Serious Fraud Office (New Zealand)

Serious Fraud Office
Te Tari Hara Taware
Agency overview
Formed 1990
Jurisdiction New Zealand
Headquarters Level 6,
21 Queen St,
Annual budget Vote Serious Fraud
Total budget for 2016/17
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Julie Reed,
    Chief Executive and Director

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) (Māori: Te Tari Hara Tāware) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with detecting, investigating and prosecuting financial crimes of a serious and complex nature in cooperation with the New Zealand Police.

The SFO is based upon its UK counterpart as established by the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990.[2]

Suspects questioned by the SFO have no right to silence and must answer questions and produce requested evidence, even if it incriminates them. However, evidence at an interview cannot be used against a suspect at his or her trial, unless he or she gives evidence which contradicts their SFO interview. Witnesses can also be required to answer questions under compulsion. Such interviews enable people with confidentiality agreements with clients to speak freely to the SFO without fear of retribution from their clients. These provisions do not override legal professional privilege.[3] Anyone who refuses to comply can be prosecuted and could be fined or jailed. Prosecutions are extremely rare and no one has been jailed for this offence.[4]

Proposal to replace the SFO

The Labour government announced in September 2007 that the SFO would be replaced by a new Organised Crime Agency.[5]

However, the bill to disband the SFO was delayed by the 2008 general election, and the new Prime Minister John Key informed Parliament that the SFO would not be disbanded.[6]

See also


  1. "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". 2016 Budget. The Treasury.
  2. "Serious Fraud Office Act 1990". New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office.
  3. SFO Act s.27
  4. SFO Act s.45
  5. Newstalk ZB (2007-09-11). "SFO to be scrapped in favour of new Organised Crime Agency". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  6. NZPA (2008-12-10). "Serious Fraud Office saved from axe". Farifax. Retrieved 2010-10-21.

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