Report No. 179
7.16 Public Interest Disclosure: [Proposed section 3.-
This section is proposed to deal with requirements of a 'Public Interest Disclosure' which can be protected. Sub section (1) speaks of disclosure and sub section (2) contains a non-obstante clause overriding the provisions of the 'Official Secrets Act, 1923'. This is a clear improvement over the U.K. Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998 where the protection, as already indicated, is very restricted. As stated earlier, the New Zealand Protected Disclosures Act, 2000 also contains a provision overriding other Acts. (see Chapter VI).
Sub section (2) refers to the persons who can make the disclosure. They are:
(i) Public Servants (except those referred to in clauses (a) to (d) of Article 33 of the Constitution),or
(ii) Any person, or
(iii) Non-Governmental organizations.
The disclosure must, under sub section (3), be in good faith, based on a solemn affirmation that the person making the disclosure reasonably believes that the information disclosed and any allegation contained therein is substantially true. The disclosure is to be made to the 'Competent 97 Authority', supported by details and documents. The Authority can call for further information or particulars.
The person who makes complaint must disclose his identity. In other words, anonymous complaints or those sent under false names, will not be entertained.