United leader Peter Dunne, whose year 2000 compliance bill was to go into the ballot for private members’ bills late last week, is in demand in Australia — but he can’t get a hearing in his home country.
Dunne has been invited to speak at a conference in Sydney in October on the year 2000 issue. However, no room could be found for him as a speaker at a similar conference in Wellington in August.
“We offered Peter as a speaker but there was no room,” says Mark Stonyer, Dunne’s press secretary.
“It’s a bit strange because Maurice Williamson will talk at the conference about the bill, which so far he’s refused to comment on despite having a copy.”
Dunne continues to pursue the issue, saying in a press release last week that there are six crucial dates that will occur before and after January 1, 2000.
* January 1, 1999, and September 9, 1999. Many systems have used 1/1/99, or simple 99, and 9/9/99 to signify “no expiration date”. Erratic results are likely when these dates occur.
* December 31, 1999. This is commonly used as a “die date”, which will cause some systems to stop.
* January 1, 2000. The first day of the new century, which many systems will treat as 1/1/1900, or “not applicable”.
* March 29, 2000. The year 2000 is a leap year. However, the normal rule which most systems will follow is that the year be divisible by four, a test which “00” will fail, meaning some systems will be out by one day.
* December 31, 2000. The 366th day of the year. Some systems will be expecting only 365 days and will produce erratic results on this date.
Dunne says these dates give fresh urgency to his bill to encourage organisations to address the Year 2000 problem.
“We face a major crisis, and I am concerned very little action is taking place to resolve it,” he says.