Only 2% of New Zealanders covered for Y2K

Only 2% of New Zealand's population is covered by a council that has successfully tested and implemented a continuity plan for Y2K problems. That's the finding of the latest Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) survey on Y2K readiness.

Only 2% of New Zealand's population is covered by a council that has successfully tested and implemented a continuity plan for Y2K problems.

That's the finding of the latest Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) survey on Y2K readiness.

"Dunedin is the only metropolitan council to have tested continuity plans for waste-water," says the report's analysis, written by Michael Osborne, a Wellington-based Y2K consultant. Of the regional authorities, South Waikato, Wanganui and Upper Hutt have also tested their plans for wastewater, but none of the councils have tested their continuity plans for water supply.

Despite this, Auckland City Council has issued a press release announcing it is fully Y2K compliant.

The analysis points out that while six councils ó of which Auckland is one ó have reportedly finished their remediation and business continuity planning. However, "none has completed testing of both internal systems and their external interfaces".

"We asked the consultant to look for internal consistency. We're learning that these surveys are done a bit at a time by different people within an organisation and that can lead to inconsistencies creeping in," says LGNZ's chief executive , Carol Stigley. She isn't too concerned about councils reporting they are completely ready in one part of the survey and saying they have more work to do in another. "They're moving forward, which is good."

The report also notes that more than 25% of councils have had to move their estimated completion dates back significantly and one council, Central Otago, won't be ready until "some time in the year 2000".

"Local government is doing what every business and organisation is doing around the world - it's slipping.

"The Readiness Commission's analysis of that is that it's probably not a bad thing - they're being more realistic in their assessment."

Fifty percent of councils expect to have their computer systems ready by the end of September and a further 11% by the end of 1999. The numbers for non-computer systems are very similar - 52% of councils expect to be ready by the end of September and 11% by the end of 1999. Quite how they will cope with any problems occurring over the September 9,1999 rollover is unexplained.

"We believe 9/9/99 isn't as prevalent as the two-digit century, but that it is a significant date," says Readiness Commission consultant John Good.

He does think there could be some problems, but there should not be any "show-stoppers" on September 9 and expects local councils and businesses to use the date as a test run for the December 31 rollover.

"You would expect these people would have taken 9/9/99 into account and put that on their list of things to do before the end of September, really."

The report also says 25% of councils have yet to assess the total cost of managing Y2K, although that figure is higher than estimates for large businesses - 46% of those are still to work out the cost.

The majority of councils, 89%, have secured all the help they need to manage Y2K ó only four have not already made arrangements but every council is confident of being able to get help as and when they need it.

All the councils have started assessing the extent of their Y2K exposure, with 82% having completed this assessment. Metropolitan councils were the least advanced with 27% being listed as "well underway" but not yet completed.

Four councils failed to return their surveys - Tauranga, Kapiti Coast, Far North and Horowhenua.

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