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N.Z. Y2K watchdog says essential services normal.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 1 Kyodo New Zealand welcomed the new millennium Saturday with little apparent effect from the feared Y2K computer bug.

New Zealand's Y2K Readiness Commission Chairman Basil Logan announced at 1 a.m. that all essential systems remain operational after the clock ticked into 2000.

"Twelve out of 12 sectors monitored in New Zealand report no Y2K-related interruptions," Logan said.

Logan said problems could still occur over the next few days, however.

The commission, based in Wellington, is being fed up-to-the-minute information from 300 monitors placed around New Zealand.

The monitors are looking for any problems in services for 12 sectors -- including power, water, telecommunications and hospital and medical services.

As New Zealand is the first developed nation to enter the New Year, the news will serve as a precursor for the rest of the world as it struggles to respond to Y2K issues.

New Zealand's citizens created heavy demand for essential supplies with some supermarkets Friday night recording sales increases of as much as 50%.

Meanwhile, telephones in New Zealand had become almost unusable early Saturday but the trouble was not caused by the Y2K computer bug, officials of the Japanese Embassy in New Zealand said.

The officials said conventional and cellular telephones became nearly unworkable as their lines grew busy.

The trouble has affected domestic and international phone calls.

Workers of the quasi-governmental Japan External Trade Organization in Auckland said they suspect trouble has occurred in portable phone networks.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jan 3, 2000
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