Protect our whistleblowers (PDF)

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Title: Protect our Whistleblowers Media Release
Author: Transparency International New Zealand

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PO Box 5248
Lambton Quay
Wellington 6145
New Zealand

Patron, Sir Don McKinnon
8 August 2017
Transparency International New Zealand

Protect our Whistleblowers 
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) calls for better whistleblower
"Whistleblowers - and their protection - are important to preserving New Zealand’s
reputation," says TINZ Director, David McNeill. "We expect this to be a poignant issue
during the election season."
The recent fraud case at the Ministry of Transport highlights the ineffectiveness in
existing whistleblowing practice - a senior executive stole over $700,000 before she was
caught and jailed and the then CEO lost his new position as Auditor-General. Multiple
whistleblowers in this case were unfairly treated and effectively squeezed out by the
This case highlights the need to improve protection for whistleblowers and the need for
accountability and transparency in the public service. It is important to recognise the
personal cost whistleblowers face and protect them from discrimination and
recrimination. Instead they should be rewarded and celebrated for their honesty,
integrity and bravery on behalf of all New Zealanders. We all observe issues of lack
probity in our daily lives, and should have the courage - and support - to say “that’s not
The TINZ Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment
provided this warning:  
“In the context where individual chief executives carry the main responsibility for
the integrity of their organisations, the ability of staff to speak out about
wrongdoing is an important safeguard. But the key legal instrument for this
purpose is not working well. The Protected Disclosures Act (2000) seems to
have had little impact. State Services Commission’s Integrity and Conduct
Surveys have shown that awareness about this Act is low. Few people seek the

Act’s protection. A significant number of whistleblowers encounter inaction, and
believe they are at risk of retaliation.”
We call on parliament to:

Release Sir Maarten Wevers’ report into the Auditor-General's behavior while
CEO at the Ministry to help the public understand the environment that fostered
fraud and the obstacles faced by whistleblowers
Strengthen the Protected Disclosures Act (2000) to support and protect

We rely on our representatives to make sound decisions on our behalf. In cases like this
where there is doubt, they must make strenuous efforts to keep the public informed.
Fraud and corruption is prevented when there is transparency and accountability at all
levels of government and society.
Transparency around poor decisions and behaviour is essential to our shared learning
on ways to prevent future occurrences.

Background information for journalists

Media contact:

David McNeill
TINZ Director
021 721 015

Transparency International
Transparency International is a global civil society coalition leading the fight against corruption. It
compiles a number of measures of different aspects of corruption including the Corruption Perceptions
Index, the Global Corruption Barometer, and the Bribe Payers Index. Information on Transparency
International can be found at and detailed information on the Corruption
Perceptions Index can be found at


About TINZ
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is the local chapter of the global organisation
- TINZ works to actively promote the highest levels of transparency,
accountability, integrity and public participation in government and civil society in New Zealand and the
Pacific Islands.
Transparency International New Zealand provides a free Anti-Corruption Training Tool
( designed by leading experts in the field, and enables
organisations to provide training for their personnel. This was developed in partnership with the
Serious Fraud Office and BusinessNZ
Transparency International New Zealand published the Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National
Integrity System Assessment and is actively engaged in the implementation of its recommendations.


About the Protected Disclosures Act
This page from the Ombudsman's website provides information about whistleblowing under the
Protected Disclosures Act.

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