The government's meagre efforts on year 2000 compliance have, by implication, been damned by Hewlett-Packard Asia--Pacific general manager Dick Warmington.
Warmington, speaking at HP's Electronic World press symposium in Sydney last week, praised the Australian government's budget announcements of tax breaks for companies working on year 2000 compliance projects but was unwilling to comment directly on New Zealand government policies.
In Australia the government is providing generous tax concessions to firms upgrading or buying new software systems to beat Y2K problems. The package is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
In New Zealand Inland Revenue is treating Y2K fixes as a capital expense, making them subject to taxation.
Warmington says the Australian government's actions were a commendable effort to tackle the problem.
Warmington emphasised after his speech that anything governments can do to ease the difficulties in 2000 would be positive. "It is definitely not overhyped."
In a speech that lauded continued investment in IT projects in Asia by both governments and the private sector despite the Asian financial crisis, Warmington suggested there was still some way to go before the region's economies came right.
"It's going to be a tough year — and there's no way around it."
However, he said this was not the time to pull back on IT projects. Companies should look on the turbulence as an opportunity to use IT to get them back on track, he says.