Reaction to United leader Peter Dunne’s proposed Millennium Bill ranges from “great” to “outrageous”, the politician says.
The draft bill, which Dunne based closely on a similar proposal for the UK — abandoned when the general election there was called — was distributed to New Zealand’s top 500 companies for comment.
“There has been a steady stream of inquiries since from lawyers and others,” Dunne says.
“The reaction so far has been mixed, — about 50-50 for and against.”
He says that where the bill differs from the UK proposal is in a suggested penalty of $250,000 for non-compliance — ”several have said that is too harsh” — and by being quite specific about whom the audits should be delivered to.
The bill would require most commercial organisations, as well as government departments and local authorities, to complete a millenium computer audit to assess the capacity of their systems to recognise dates up to and later than December 31, 1999.
Companies would have to make the information available to their shareholders, and all organisations as well as to the Ministry of Commerce.
“All the critics are overlooking the fact that I’ve deliberately consulted people first,” Dunne says.
“I’m not wedded to a draconian penalty but to something happening that’s a positive step forward.
“I’ve aired the issue to get people focused.”
After gathering further comment, he will enter the bill in the ballot for private members’ bills.
“I’ll also take it directly to the government to see if we can get them to take it on board.”