We are pleased to announce that the 2008/2009 New Year transition has occurred, as in previous years, without incident. This result shows the vital role played in annual date rollover preparedness played by the Commission. The Commissioner would like to take this opportunity to thank the personnel of the Commission for their sterling work once again in preventing social and economic disorder. Without the dedicated service of Commission staff it is difficult to imagine smooth chronological succession.
A note of caution should be sounded, however. Recent research shows that fewer that 0.07% of households still have their “B Y2K Wise” fridge magnets attached to their fridge doors. Current surveys suggest that the EQC fridge magnets warning of tsunamis and the Ministry of Health fridge magnets warning of pandemic influenza have radically impinged on the “refrigerator ecosystem” reducing mindshare for cataclysmic exhortation.
Additional competition in the fridge-magnet space from HealthLine, PlunketLine, and the Quit Group (Te Roopu Me Mutu) has added marketing complexity. A coordinated approach with these agencies would be desirable.
A number of energy utilities – some privately held – are also using fridge magnets to market emergency telephone numbers. Whilst these efforts are undoubtedly well-meant it is important that regulations be put in place to ensure that these messages do not crowd out messages with broader social importance.
Fridge magnets without appropriate social messages such as Disney-character and imported Australian-mammal magnets should be banned. Products such as novelty “Kiwis next 1000 km” roadsign fridge magnets, essential to the clean green New Zealand image, should remain legal subject to approval from overseas agencies.
We are pleased to note that previous fears voiced about the survival of the agency under the incoming government have proved unfounded. Ill-informed commentators have previously implied that the Y2K Readiness Commission is no longer required, although a decade of uninterrupted success proves the contra. To counter inappropriate public opinion we advise rebranding the Commission the “Calendrical Succession Commission.”
Successful rebranding can only be accomplished via a sixty million dollar advertising campaign. The campaign should cover television, radio, and the internet – although internet coverage should avoid the months of December and January.
The focus of any advertising campaign should be the primacy of calendrical awareness. Because the messages the Commission promotes are identical to those promoted by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, differentiation is essential. Whereas the occurrence of a major earthquake or volcanic eruption cannot be guaranteed in any region in any one year, the rollover of the calendar year is assured, making the elimination of complacency a priority.
In the current environment there is constant pressure on government spending. It is essential that vital services such as that provided by the Commission are not compromised. Indeed, increases in human resources, health and safety, and building costs mean that core functions of the Commission are at risk if funding is not significantly increased for the 2009/2010 and subsequent years.
If the Commission receives further Cabinet-level support and is appropriately funded we can assure that nothing will happen for years to come.
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