Preparing for the New Zealand Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act – Update #6

We refer to an article dated 10 May 2022 titled “Government Bolsters Protection For Whistleblowers”.

According to Minister for the Public Service Chris Hipkins “Significant improvements are being made in New Zealand workplaces to better protect whistleblowers. The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022 replaces the Protected Disclosures Act 2000. It is more people-focused and will make the rules easier to access, understand, and use.”

“One of New Zealand’s strengths is the high regard in which New Zealand Government and business organisations are held for their honesty and integrity. It’s vital that employees and workers can freely speak up when they have concerns about ethics, risks, financial impropriety and safety in the workplace – without the fear of recrimination.”

The new Protected Disclosures Act 2022 makes the disclosure process easier, extends and clarifies the grounds under which protected disclosures can be made and provides increased protection for whistleblowers. It covers wrongdoing in, or by, any organisation, including small businesses, government agencies, and non-government associations and is relevant to anyone who has worked or volunteered for them.

The Act also provides clearer protection for people to speak up about wrongdoing, while protecting the whistleblowers themselves. It ensures confidentiality around who has made the disclosure, immunity from disciplinary action for making the disclosure, and protection from retaliation through the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

“Another key improvement to the Act means a person, from any organisation or business, can make a protected disclosure direct to an appropriate authority at any time – instead of needing to disclose to their employer first.”

In the lead up to the Act’s commencement in July, the Government will build awareness of the new legislation – so that organisations know what they need to do, and people can better understand the protections available and feel safer raising their concerns when they do see something seriously wrong in their workplace.

Read the full article here.

Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill

The Bill replaces the Protected Disclosures Act 2000. This Bill clarifies the definition of serious wrongdoing, enables people to report serious wrongdoing directly to an appropriate authority at any time, strengthens protections for disclosers, clarifies the internal procedure requirements for public sector organisations, and the potential forms of adverse conduct disclosers may face.