Winz makes new slip up - university fears chaos (NZ - computer glitch) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

THURSDAY, FEB 10, 2000:

Winz makes new slip-up

University fears chaos

by Diana McCurdy

Canterbury University fears bedlam after the latest student loan bungle that resulted in 22,000 tertiary students nationwide receiving incorrect contracts.

More problems surfaced yesterday when the university received mail from Work and Income New Zealand intended for individual students, but addressed to the university.

On Tuesday night, it was discovered that a computer glitch had resulted in 22,000 incorrect loan contracts being sent out to students throughout New Zealand.

Most wrongly showed North Island students enrolled at Canterbury University.

Winz took over administering the student loans system in January this year. It experienced similar problems when it took over student allowances in October 1998.

In an e-mail to Canterbury University staff yesterday, university manager of administrative services Linda East said the error would have "a big effect on the cash flow of the university" because tuition fees would come in later than usual.

Mrs East cited the example of 43 law professionals students who had attempted to enrol on 24 January.

In previous years, they would have been enrolled in 24 hours, but 16 had encountered delays and six had still not yet been enrolled.

"If this percentage is anything to go by then next week is going to be bedlam," Mrs East said.

Students whose enrolment was delayed by Winz problems would not be charged the usual late fee, but would experience difficulty accessing some student services.

Yesterday, Winz apologised to students, blaming the error on a recent computer upgrade.

The department said the problem had been fixed and asked students to correct their contracts and return them.

Winz student services national manager Lorraine Williams assured students it would not affect the processing of their loan contracts.

Christchurch Polytechnic Students' Association president June Tam said many students had experienced delays of up to eight weeks, before the latest mistake had occurred.

She had already had students asking for support from food banks.

ACT MP Muriel Newman called on Minister of Social Services and Employment Steve Maharey to state whether he still had confidence in Winz chief executive Christine Rankin.

Last month, Mr Maharey said he was pleased to see Winz had "got its systems performing better this year".

-- Homer Beanfang (, February 09, 2000


Homer, you find the most fascinating computer glitch articles! Thanks for the reminders and illustrations of the Bugs that can Make Life Miserable.

Concrete examples help ground one to reality amidst all the fluff 'n huff.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, February 09, 2000.


Having some experience with a university computing environment, I can safely guess that "chaos" understates the H&^% out of it! My God!

Now, of course that upgrade had nothing to do with anything date-sensitive.

Have we had something this massive, this epic here in the U.S.? Well, Cleveland State (in Ohio) has an ongoing nightmare that sounds pretty similiar with PeopleSoft. Lord, what a mess!

-- Redeye in Ohio (, February 10, 2000.

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