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Top Class Job by New Zealanders on Y2K

Release Y2K Commission

New Zealand has successfully weathered the Y2K storm thanks to a top class job being done by New Zealanders in both the public and private sectors, says the Chairman of the Y2K Readiness Commission Basil Logan. The Readiness Commission closes down this week having completed its job of helping New Zealand organisations and the public to prepare for problems caused by computers not recognising the year 2000.

“ Our final survey of New Zealand business shows that a huge effort was put in, especially over the final months of 1999, to fix problems and prepare contingency plans should things go wrong,” Mr. Logan said.

“ More than a quarter of all businesses found they had potential Y2K problems but only 5% experienced problems after 1 January, showing the quality of the work they had done. Y2K would have had the biggest impact on big businesses, those employing more than 500 people, but those big businesses have been very successful in managing their Y2K risks. Although 98% had found problems beforehand none had any serious problems after the 1 January.

“ We know that some problems could still arise but we expect these to be limited and capable of being handled by normal management processes. Certainly there is no need for the Commission to continue and we are happy to close down as scheduled this week,” Mr. Logan said.

The Y2K Readiness Commission has estimated that New Zealand business spent about $1.2bn on Y2K work and that the average amount spent by each of the biggest New Zealand businesses was $2.6m. The Commission says that it is difficult to know how much would have been spent anyway, for example on upgrades of computer software. The Commission’s survey shows that more than 60% of New Zealand businesses say they now have better computer systems as a result of Y2K.

“ The Y2K problem has taught New Zealand some valuable lessons,” Mr. Logan said.

“ We can now see how dependent advanced countries such as New Zealand are on computer technology. We have also learnt, not for the first time, that directors and senior managers must maintain a systematic oversight of all risks facing the business, including the risks arising from technology, and have business continuity plans in place should things go wrong. The updating of our technology and the deeper understanding we have gained of risk management will stand New Zealand in good stead in the future.

“ We have also confirmed what we always believed; that New Zealanders will act calmly and sensibly if they are given solid information. The fact that 80% of New Zealanders responded to the Readiness Commission’s public information programme and prepared readiness kits, in case essential services were affected, is testimony to that. Keeping those kits in case of other emergencies has to be the aim now, “ Mr. Logan said.

“The eyes of the world were on New Zealand at 1 January as the first developed country to enter the year 2000. We were happy to provide an early warning system on Y2K for other countries and they have expressed their thanks to us. The fact that an advanced country like New Zealand had made the transition smoothly was a great comfort to the international community,” Mr. Logan said.

The tables attached are extracted from the Y2K Readiness Commission survey of March 2000. The full survey results can be found on the Commission’s website

ENDS

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