Government to review law on protection for whistle blowers

Work has begun on a review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today.

 

The Government is exploring whether the law and procedures to protect whistle blowers need to be strengthened. The review will start with a series of targeted workshops next week.

 

“Getting this right is critical to building public confidence in the integrity of government and business in New Zealand,” Mr Hipkins says.

 

“It is crucial that employees feel safe to report cases of serious misconduct. Anyone who raises issues of serious misconduct or wrongdoing needs to have faith that their role, reputation, and career development will not be jeopardised when speaking up.

 

“The first step in this review is to identify possible gaps and weaknesses in the current Act.” 

 

The Act aims to promote the public interest by facilitating the disclosure and investigation of serious wrongdoing in the workplace, and providing protection for individuals who report concerns.

 

However, recent analysis and misconduct cases suggest New Zealand’s legislation may not be working as effectively as it could and lags behind international practice in a number of key areas.

 

Next week’s workshops will be attended by stakeholders in the public and private sectors who have knowledge and experience with the Act. The aim is to gather perspectives on the key issues and challenges and discuss the benefits and risks of different reform choices.

 

Feedback from the workshops will inform the next step in the process, including the issue of a wider public discussion.