Section 1 – Title
This Act is the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.
Arising from historical public disclosures made by person/s relating to matters involving serious wrongdoing of a very wide-ranging nature, the New Zealand Parliament in 2000 enacted law to give certain protections to certain persons who deemed, that in the ‘best interests’ of some organisation to blow the whistle’ on such wrongdoing. Hence the often heard ‘colloquialism’ used to describe this aspect of today’s society namely Whistleblowing.
Section 2 – Commencement
This Act comes into force on 1 January 2001.
This is the date on which this Act came into force and became Law – eg. 1 January 2001. All Acts of Parliament must have a Commencement date. The Act was amended in part in 2009 and the Act is currently under review.
What workplaces are captured by the legislation. The term ‘organisation’ is referred to in much of the legislation.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires serious wrongdoing includes any serious wrongdoing of any of the following types:
- an unlawful, corrupt, or irregular use of funds or resources of a public sector organisation; or
- an act, omission, or course of conduct that constitutes a serious risk to public health or public safety or the environment; or
- an act, omission, or course of conduct that constitutes a serious risk to the maintenance of law, including the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences and the right to a fair trial; or
- an act, omission, or course of conduct that constitutes an offence; or
- an act, omission, or course of conduct by a public official that is oppressive, improperly discriminatory, or grossly negligent, or that constitutes gross mismanagement.
Section 3 – Interpretation
Organisation means a body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporated, and whether in the public sector or in the private sector: and includes a body of persons comprising 1 employer and 1 or more employees.
The public sector organisation (PSO) is defined as:
- An organisation named or specified in schedule 1 of the Ombudsmen Act 1975
- An organisation named in schedule 1 of the Official Information Act 1982
- A local authority or public body named or specified in schedule 1 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
- The office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives
- The Parliamentary Service
- An intelligence and Security Agency
- A council-controlled organisation within the meaning of section 6 of the Local Government Act 2002
In accordance with legal statutes, the Interpretation Section sets out the legal meaning of all aspects to which this particular law applies. It defines in detail what the law is intended to mean when dealing with the wording of a particular statute.
Section 4 – Act binds the Crown
This Act binds the Crown
This is a provision contained in all statutes that simply means what it says. In other words, the Crown cannot contract itself out of this statute.
Section 5 – Purpose of Act
The purpose of this Act is to promote the public interest –
- By facilitating the disclosure and investigation of matters of serious wrongdoing in or by an organisation; and
- By protecting employees who, in accordance with this Act, make disclosures of information about serious wrongdoing in or by an organisation.
This is the provision in the Act in which the legislators have described the reasoning behind the Act being passed into law. In this case it is to promote the public interest with the encouragement of persons to make disclosures of serious wrongdoing by an organisation and at the same time giving legal protection to such persons for such disclosures.