16 Feb 2018

Review into whistleblowers law begins

1:12 pm on 16 February 2018

The law protecting whistleblowers is being reviewed.

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State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes was highly critical of the law last year after it failed to protect staff who spoke out about the convicted Ministry of Transport fraudster Joanne Harrison.

Mr Hughes said the system was substandard, inadequate, and "was very out of date and no longer reflected international best practice".

The government is now exploring whether the Protected Disclosures Act needs to be strengthened.

"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," State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said.

The first step was to identify possible gaps and weaknesses in the current Act, he said.

Workshops were set to be held next week with stakeholders in public and private sectors and would look into the next step in the process, including the issue of a wider public discussion.