United New Zealand leader Peter Dunne is calling for the resignation of Information Technology Minister Maurice Williamson over the State Services Commission report on Government agencies' year 2000 readiness.
Dunne bases his comments on a leaked regarding the report, which he says is a damning indictment of the lack of public sector Y2K preparation. There are, he says, severe doubts that many of the problems can be overcome in time. Of major concern, was the fact that three large hospitals were unlikely to be Y2K-compliant.
Dunne says it is time for Prime Minister Jenny Shipley to step in, remove Williamson from any Y2K role, and take personal charge of New Zealand's Y2K readiness.
"It's my understanding that the report has actually been in the minister's hands since earlier this week and a conscious decision was made to withhold its release until Friday so it would get buried in the weekend news," says Dunne.
Strangely, Dunne says the SSC report claims the public sector is "woefully unprepared" even though the SSC has no brief to look at the public sector. He cannot confirm whether this is part of the report or not as he has not seen the report but has been told "by impeccable sources" of its content. SSC Project Office head John Belgrave could neither confirm nor deny rumours on the report's contents.
"I think it's public knowledge that the report will be released but I cannot comment on its contents until then."
Williamson refuted Dunne's statements, saying he is overstating government's lack of preparedness.
"[The] report will show … where the areas of concern are, what measures have been taken and where efforts … need to be concentrated," says Williamson in a press release. Dunne points out that Williamson doesn't refute his charges.
Williamson plans to release the results of the monthly report in a "league table" format that will compare each department's Y2K status.