Y2K commission readies campaign

In the first major move since its inception in August, the Y2K Readiness Commission is set to launch its first awareness campaign. Just over 302,000 information packs will be sent to businesses with less than 50 employees - the so-called small to medium enterprise (SME) companies that make up more than 80% of New Zealand's businesses.

In the first major move since its inception in August, the Y2K Readiness Commission is set to launch its first awareness campaign.

Just over 302,000 information packs will be sent to businesses with less than 50 employees — the so-called small to medium enterprise (SME) companies that make up more than 80% of New Zealand’s businesses.

The majority of the packs will contain a brochure (Coping with the Y2K problem) and a letter from the commission explaining the campaign. 75,000 of the packs will also contain the BP Survival Guide mentioned in last week’s Computer-world.

“Some businesses will need a plan to get them through whereas others will only need to look at the brochure and go from there,” says commission spokesman John Bullock.

Both the survival guide and the brochure are available from the commission’s Web site (www.y2k.govt.nz).

The commission, in conjunction with WestpacTrust, has also launched a video outlining the problems associated with Y2K. It is available on request from the Web site, or from the Commission’s free hotline (0900 Y2K Y2K).

The commission has also published its 52-page mission statement, Strategy and Key Deliver-ables. The statement includes a pyramid of prioritisation, with the infrastructure (electricity, gas and oil) being most important followed by communications, emergency services and local government. Health is in the middle of the pyramid, with the public and media sitting at the sharp end.

The government’s role is also outlined. As well as ensuring the public is aware of the problem, government will also ensure that “all public sector organisations are managing Y2K compliance” and “reassure New Zealand’s major trading partners”. No mention is made about seeking similar assurances from New Zealand’s trading partners, however.

“Our top priority is what New Zealand’s doing and what we are saying to the rest of the world,” says commission director Clare Pinder.

Another interesting point in the statement is the unwillingness even to consider so-called Good Samaritan legislation. Pinder says the idea of Good Samaritan legislation was rejected from the Task Force list of recommendations for being “unimportant at that time” although both the US and Australia have adopted similar laws since then.

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