Y2k Awareness High But More Work Needed

  • Maurice Williamson

Every week should be considered Y2K week until clocks tick over to the new millenium, Minister responsible for Y2K Maurice Williamson said today.

He was referring to the beginning of APEC Y2K Week, aimed at enhancing understanding of the problem among APEC nations.

"The Government has been working on the problem since 1996 and awareness is well established in New Zealand. This has been further enhanced over the last six months with the establishment of the Y2K Readiness Commission," said Mr Williamson.

"Results of a recent public opinion survey conducted by the Commission showed that 96 percent of the population were now aware of the issue."

However, Mr Williamson said that although awareness was extremely important, businesses that had not already done so must now attack the problem.

He emphasised the importance of contingency planning, as the Y2K problem was not limited to fixing an organisation's own devices.

"Management of the supply chain and the development and testing of business continiuty measures must be addressed."

Mr Williamson said a number of recent initiatives would improve awareness further, including the Good Samaritan Legislation, expected to be passed on May 18.

"This will increase the opportunity for organisations to share information without fear of legal liability and improve their ability to install contingency plans."

Mr Williamson said details of sector progress was published on the Readiness Commission's web site, which gave organisations and the public the opportunity to keep informed. The address is www.y2k.govt.nz

"We are determined to emphasise co-operation and disclosure so that all New Zealanders will understand how risks are being managed and what part they can play in the transition to the new millenium."

Mr Williamson said publication of such material was a positive incentive for organisations to make further progress and reassure the public that their interests are being taken seriously.

"This is akin to hanging out the dirty washing for all to see. Hopefully, over time, the public will see that this laundry is progressively becoming cleaner."

Mr Williamson was pleased that people understood the problem, but those who had not already done so must now take the necessary steps to address it.