New Zealand Law Society - Stronger Protected Disclosures Act likely

Stronger Protected Disclosures Act likely

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The Government has announced plans to strengthen the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 to provide better protection for whistleblowers.

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says the Government will take a two-pronged approach to strengthening our protected disclosures regime.

He says the Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoings in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being mistreated.

"We know however that the Act is not working as well as it should and is seen as weak and confusing."

Mr Hipkins says the Government will introduce several legislative amendments that will address the key deficiencies in the Act.

These include:

  • Allowing people to report serious wrongdoing direct to an external authority if they wish
  • Strengthening protection for disclosers by outlining what those receiving disclosures must do
  • Requiring public sector organisations to provide support for disclosers
  • Extending the coverage of serious wrongdoing to include misuse of public funds or public authority by non-government organisations.

Mr Hipkins says the State Services Commission will also continue to work on further possible amendments to the Act, build awareness of the Act and existing standards and guidance, test the feasibility and usefulness of establishing reporting and monitoring arrangements and consider the potential for a ‘one stop shop’ for disclosures.