The Minister of State Services, Chris Hipkins, has just introduced a bill that will strengthen protections for whistleblowers.
The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill will replace the Protected Disclosures Act, which is now 20 years old.
Chris Hipkins said the current laws were not working as well as they should.
“Anyone who raises these issues, or ‘blows the whistle’, needs to have faith that their role, reputation, and career development will not be jeopardised when speaking up.”
Hipkins said the bill provided assurance that people could make disclosures without fear of punishment or reprisal.
“The Bill will ensure New Zealand has a strengthened regime for disclosing serious wrongdoing in the workplace, which is critical to maintaining the country’s reputation for high standards of integrity, openness and transparency,” he said.
The changes will:
- Allow serious wrongdoing to be reported directly to an external authority, if a discloser wishes to do so
- Strengthen protection for disclosers by outlining what those receiving disclosures should do
- Require public sector organisations to provide more support for disclosers
- Extend the coverage of serious wrongdoing to include misuse of public funds or resources, whether in a public or private
- Make it clearer for whistleblowers who the appropriate authority is for making a disclosure