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Report No. 179

(C) New Zealand: The Protected Disclosure Act, 2000

The Protected Disclosure Act, 2000 of New Zealand contains provisions which are similar to those in the Australian Act, 1994 with certain modifications. Section 6 of the Act refers to "Disclosures to which the Act applies", sections 7 to 14 refer to the manner in which disclosures have to be made to various authorities, section 17 enables grievances to be submitted against reprisals, and section 18 refers to immunity from civil and criminal proceedings and section 19 to confidentiality.

Section 17 states that if any retaliatory action is taken by the employer or former employer such as dismissal or any action other than dismissal, the said employee may apply for redress under the provisions of the Employment Contracts Act, 1991.

Sub-section (1) of section 18 provides immunity from civil and criminal proceedings where a person has made a protected disclosure or one to the appropriate authority. Sub-section (1) of section 18 is important and reads as follows:-

"Section 18(1); sub-section applies despite any prohibition of or restriction on the disclosure of information under any enactment, rule of law, contract, oath or practice".

That means that the Act will certainly override any other law in Australia which deals with Official Secrets. This appears to be a provision better than the one in UK.

Section 19 requires the identity of the informant to be kept secret unless the informant concerned consents or unless it is required to reveal his identity for effective investigation, or to prevent a risk to public health or to public safety or for purposes of observing principles of natural justice.

Section 20 refers to "false allegations" and states that the protection under the Act and under section 66 (1) (a) of the Human Rights Act, 1993 is 77 not available to the person giving the information if he has made the allegation with knowledge that the information is false or has acted in bad faith. The section conforms to the principles laid down in New York Times v. Sullivan , (1964) 376 US 254, already referred to in Chapter IV.

Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers Back

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