Submission of Multicultural New Zealand, the Federation of Multicultural Councils to the State Services Commission on the Review of New Zealand's Whistleblowing Law to Improve the Protected Disclosures Act 2000
Submission I 11 December 2018
Thank you for the opportunity for input into the review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, specifically in relation to the identified five options for change and most importantly in relation to the scope.
1. Multicultural New Zealand - The Federation of Multicultural Councils welcomes the review of New Zealand's Whistleblowing Law to help shape improvements to the Protected Disclosures Act to maintain New Zealand’s high standards of integrity.
2. Multicultural New Zealand supports Multicultural Tauranga – Tauranga Regional Multicultural Council Inc. submission.
3. Based on the above, we do not oppose the five options for change. We are impressed in general with the thoroughness of the work done by you in developing the Options for Change, and the extent to which you have earlier engaged with stakeholders in February and March 2018 to learn more about the challenges people encounter under the current regime and the pros and cons of different international approaches.
4. The objective of our submission is to achieve the following:
• Clear pathway in ethnic communities to be able to report domestic violence, forced marriages etc. to an agency, not necessarily the Police. If the victim has to report the matter to Police, the victim may be reluctant to do so because of fear of being disclosed as the informant and making their domestic situation worse.
• The Whistle Blowing Act should be widened to include community groups, sporting clubs and NGOs and should avoid disclosure of who the victim/informant is.
• The Whistle Blowing Act should be widened to include places other than the work place.
However, we have a number of comments and suggestions for your consideration:
5. The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 exists to support people to expose criminal, fraudulent or other serious misconduct in their workplace by protecting them from unfair dismissal or treatment. However the New Zealand demographics have drastically changed since 2000 hence the New Zealand workplace today is more diverse bringing into context cultural, religion and race: Intercultural Communication and Awareness of staff and interaction.
6. As highlighted in Multicultural Tauranga – Tauranga Regional Multicultural Council Inc. submission, we do believe the scope is “specific about raising matters relating to employment (employee, contractor, volunteer) within an organisation and relating to activity suspected of being inappropriate within the workplace”.
7. In view of recently passed Domestic Violence Bill that requires employers to give victims of domestic violence up to 10 days leave from work, separate from annual leave and sick leave entitlements. The law also allows workers who are victims of domestic violence to request flexible working arrangements and prohibits being a victim of domestic violence as a ground for discrimination under the Human Rights Act.
8. The above supports our recommendation that the review of New Zealand's Whistleblowing Law should not be specific and limited to workplace. We hereby recommend that the review should include but not be limited to domestic violence, marrying more than one wife, forced marriages, underage marriages, mutilation, etc. These are connected and workplace can be a place that can help to expose serious threats to the public interest.
9. We also recommend that the Review of New Zealand's Whistleblowing Law should be extended to include Community Groups, Sport Clubs and places of learning, to encompass international students at all levels and accompanying care-givers of international student minors.
10. We do wish to speak to our submission and do I look forward to your early confirmation that we will be able to speak.
President, Multicultural NZ