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Benefit payment system among the most reliable

17 March 2004 Media Statement

Ministry of Social Development benefit payment system among the most reliable in the world

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today assured New Zealanders that the Ministry of Social Development’s IT systems are robust and completely reliable.

The comments come in response to inaccurate and anonymous claims made in the IT industry magazine, CIO, which were repeated in Parliament this afternoon by New Zealand First MP Winston Peters.

Steve Maharey the SWIFTT (Social Welfare Information for Tomorrow Today) system which pays out benefits and pensions has never missed a payment and is in no need of immediate upgrade or replacement.

“The Ministry has consistently said that it is looking at ways in which it might evolve and transform its computer systems. It is taking a careful and prudent approach to any decision-making but has made it clear that there will be no big bang project that will replace current systems. Rather the Ministry will be over time evolving and refining modules to the systems.

“The Ministry in December purchased two Unisys Libra 185 mainframe computers which have provided an immediate 30 percent increase in processor capacity and faster response times for frontline users. The changeover occurred last month without incident.

“Claims that there is capacity issues with SWIFTT are wrong. The Ministry moved well ahead of schedule to buy the new mainframes to take advantage of an excellent trade-in offer on the old mainframes and the high kiwi dollar.

“Indeed, the NZ Herald’s Connect IT pages last week commented on the good deal that the Ministry had achieved in its purchase of the Libra mainframes.

“I am confident that the Ministry’s IT systems and IT department are in excellent shape. The Ministry will continue to work closely with Treasury and the State Services Commission as they move forward to further improve and enhance what is already an extremely reliable benefit payment system,” Steve Maharey said.


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