We're prepared, says New Zealand

Rest assured New Zealand. Government organisations say they can cope with anything short of a full-scale nuclear holocaust.

Rest assured New Zealand. Government organisations say they can cope with anything short of a full-scale nuclear holocaust.

Even if both the central business districts of Auckland and Wellington were taken out in a Manhattan-style terrorist attack, life would carry on pretty much as before.

Rates demands and bills from ACC and the taxman would continue to arrive and elections could still take place.

The Auckland power crisis of 1998 and Y2K worries have taught New Zealand to be prepared. And for far longer, organisations have had to prepare for traditional civil defence emergencies such as earthquake, volcanic eruption and flood.

Electoral Enrolment Centre national manager Murray Wicks confirms the Wellington-based agency has back-up systems.

“We have off-site storage. We have disaster recovery systems which are tested at least every six months, so no problems there. We would still be able to rush off and have an election,” he says. The cause of the civil defence emergency would not matter, he says.

IRD spokesman Paul Ryder says the department stores no data in central Auckland or Wellington.

“The department uses four major computer sites and full disaster recovery plans are in place for mission-critical systems.

“All mission-critical systems conform to production and development standards so if there is a disaster at one site, another site can take over,” he says.

Auckland City Council backs its major IT systems daily and stores the data off-site in South Auckland.

“We have a comprehensive back-up strategy. We also have a comprehensive recovery strategy to ensure these back-ups can easily be used,” says Ian Rae, the council’s IT and communications manager.

Auckland City Council also has “contingency plans” to ensure power is always delivered to its “priority” IT and call centre areas, and staff would use cellphones or radio as well to ensure “business as usual”.

“The Y2K exercise provided the opportunity to review and fill in any gaps that existed in business continuity planning. No gaps were found in IT and we review this continuously as part of our usual business,” Rae says.

Like several other organisations, the police were unable to meet our request for detailed information on time, but spokeswoman Sarah Martin says the force has back-up power systems for email and the phone such as satellite phones and radio.

ACC says it operates a nationwide computer information system, using a centralised server with a disaster recovery system. Computers in another city can take over the core functions if the main production computer centre fails.

“The claim management system also interfaces with other supporting systems and critical components of these are also reproduced in the alternate location,” says ACC business continuity manager Jeff Cornwell.

“The claim management system copies records to the disaster recovery site as soon as they are entered into or updated in the production system.

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