HIGH LEVEL GROUP TO ADVISE GOVERNMENT ON Y2K/MILLENNIUM ISSUES

  • Maurice Williamson
Y2K

The Cabinet is to set up a top level committee to advise the Government on any issues that may require a response from the whole Government arising from the Year 2000 changeover or from general millennium activities, Minister Responsible for Y2K Maurice Williamson announced today.

"While we are not expecting major disruptions in the New Year, we are determined to be prepared for any possible situation.

"By international standards, New Zealand is well prepared. The internationally respected Gartner Group recently placed New Zealand amongst the top Y2K Readiness performers in the world for its work with sector groups in getting them prepared for Y2K.

"Because we are the first to see the changeover, we won't have the benefit of being able to learn from others if unexpected problems arise, and must plan for every contingency," Mr Williamson said.

He said that the committee could advise on problems occurring offshore, such as major international air traffic control failure, to problems influencing New Zealand with a national focus that impacted on critical human services, the economy or national security.

The issues could be ongoing, might take several days to make themselves known, and require a measured and ongoing Government response to allay local and international concerns.

"The committee will not be concerned with specific 'civil defence' emergency situations. These will be handled by our ongoing emergency management processes."

The committee will be chaired by the Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and report to the Prime Minister. It will include the Chief Executives of the State Services Commission, Emergency Management, NZ Police, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Treasury and the Y2K Readiness Commission.

"I am very hopeful that our good state of readiness will not require involvement of this group, but if we need it, New Zealanders can be assured that we have a means of dealing with a significant incident," said Mr Williamson.