This paper discusses New Zealand's attempt to deal with insider trading by statutory means. New Zealand's attempt is of particular interest since it has two features which distinguish it from other jurisdictions. The first feature is the decision to reject the criminalisation of insider trading and to instead rely upon civil enforcement of insider trading alone. The second feature is the failure to provide a state agency with powers to take action (whether civil or criminal) against insider trading. The New Zealand legislation, the Securities Amendment Act 1988 (‘the Act’), was put in place after the stockmarket crash of 1987 in response to outcries against perceived abuses in the market. The Act has been in force for seven years, yet no case involving allegations of insider trading has been taken to completion. The basis of the insider trading regime is private enforcement which, in the light of its failure to provide effective remedies and control, needs to be reviewed.
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